Two citations of animal cruelty for leaving dogs in hot cars gain national attention
SACRAMENTO, CA (September 7, 2012) – After two incidents in one week in which dogs were left in hot cars, causing the pets severe distress and risking their death, RedRover, a national nonprofit animal protection organization, is imploring pet owners visiting Myrtle Beach to leave their dogs in a safe, cool place while running errands or visiting attractions that do not allow pets.
On Tuesday, police cited Rigoberto Luna Laris, 35, of Charlotte, North Carolina, after officers went to Broadway at the Beach and found a tan Chihuahua left in a car for more than an hour. The temperature inside the vehicle had risen to 107 degrees. After Laris received a citation and paid a $106 bond, the dog, named Pee Wee, was returned to him.
On Wednesday, Ives Jenkins, 36, of Lincolnton, North Carolina, was cited for mistreatment to animals after a black and tan Chihuahua was found locked in his pickup truck near Ripley’s Aquarium for more than 45 minutes, less than a mile from the previous day’s incident. The internal temperature of the vehicle had risen to 101 degrees even though the windows were open about two inches. The dog was panting heavily.
“Leaving a dog in the car while running errands, dining or visiting a tourist attraction can literally be a death sentence,” said RedRover President and CEO Nicole Forsyth. “As the heat inside a car quickly rises, dogs suffer irreversible organ damage and eventually death. The safe choice is to leave your dog in a cool house.”
Forsyth offered five reasons why leaving a dog in a hot car 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.
- 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.
“People are under the misconception that dogs are tougher than humans are, that they can handle the heat,” Forsyth said. “But the reality is, they are more susceptible to high temperatures and depend on us to keep them safe. Don’t gamble with your dog’s life.”
Upon seeing a dog in distress in a hot car, it is imperative to call the local animal control agency or police immediately.
To learn more about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars and to download educational materials to share with others, visit www.MyDogIsCool.com. Businesses are encouraged to download, print and post free signs available at the website to warn patrons about the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars.
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.
MEDIA CONTACT: LEILI KHALESSI, 916.429.2457 or firstname.lastname@example.org