Local resident spearheads effort to place signs in municipal parking lots
BRATTLEBORO, VT (May 7, 2013) – Brattleboro, Vermont, has become a national leader in raising awareness about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars by posting signs last week warning drivers about the danger that hot cars pose.
The signs were posted last week after an effort by resident Barry Adams that has spanned years. In October 2012, the Town of Brattleboro Transportation Committee approved Adams’ proposal to have signs posted in municipal parking lots including the Brattleboro Transportation Center, the Harmony parking lot, and the Preston, Harris, and High-Grove parking lots. The signs, funded by an anonymous donation to the Town of Brattleboro, contain a simple message to remind pet owners that heat in enclosed vehicles kills pets. Adams had worked with town officials since 2007 to develop the plan, and received strong letters of support from several national and local animal groups including RedRover, Vermont Veterinary Medical Association, Windham County Humane Society and Vermont Animal Cruelty Task Force. Previously, in the Spring of 2011, the Town of Brattleboro also began including warnings of the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars on all dog license applications and all dog license renewal forms.
Very few communities in the United States display such permanent signs in public places or include the information in dog licensing forms, though law enforcement agencies frequently encounter preventable heat-related tragedies involving pets and hot vehicles.
In addition to spearheading the effort to place the signs, Adams has planned a community awareness event as part of his role as a volunteer with RedRover’s national My Dog Is Cool campaign. Adams and his partner, Kevin Maloney, former Chair of the Brattleboro Planning Commission, who will dress up in puppy costumes and hold umbrellas, will talk with families on May 25 and provide informational summer pet safety fliers, posters and giveaways at a parking lot where dogs have previously been found in hot cars.
“Each year, authorities are called to respond to emergencies involving pets left in hot cars. By posting signs and engaging the community we hope to reduce these incidents,” said Adams. “Leaving a dog in the car while running errands can literally be a death sentence. As the heat inside a car quickly rises, dogs suffer irreversible organ damage and eventually death. Brattleboro residents and visitors need to be reminded that the safe choice is to leave your dog in a cool house.”
Saturday, May 25
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Harmony Parking Lot
Already in 2013, several cases of dogs being left behind in hot cars have made the headlines. In April, a Virginia woman was charged with two felony counts of animal cruelty when her two dogs perished in a hot car while she shopped at a Walmart for about an hour, despite parking in a shaded area and leaving the windows cracked. A Massachusetts student was charged with cruelty to animals after he left his golden retriever in a car at Cape Cod Community College. Despite temperatures in the 70s outside, the temperature in the car was a sweltering 106, and the dog was showing signs of heat distress.
Five reasons why leaving a dog in a car on a warm day can be deadly:
- Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat-related illness because they can only cool off by panting and through the pads in their feet.
- Even seemingly mild days are dangerous. In a Stanford University study, when it was 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature climbed to 116 degrees within one hour, with most of the rise happening in the first 15 to 30 minutes.
- Enclosed cars heat up quickly. In a study by San Francisco State University, when it was 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car rose to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes.
- A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees; a dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering irreversible nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.
- Studies show that cracking the windows has little effect on a vehicle’s internal temperature.
Upon seeing a dog in distress in a hot car in Brattleboro, call the Brattleboro Animal Control immediately at 802.257.7946.
This event is part of RedRover’s national My Dog Is Cool campaign. To learn more about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, visit MyDogIsCool.com.
RedRover focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the bond between people and animals through a variety of programs, including emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. RedRover’s My Dog Is Cool campaign is designed to get the word out to individuals and communities about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars through fliers, posters, and other educational materials as well as educate the media, general public, police, emergency workers and city officials about steps to take to prevent dogs from dying in hot cars.
BARRY ADAMS, VOLUNTEER: 802.254.5571 or email@example.com.
For information about RedRover, the national organization supporting this and 30 other My Dog Is Cool Action Day events nationwide this Spring, contact Leili Khalessi at 916.429.2457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.