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Dogs Found in Hot Cars Rescued by Police

Police respond to several incidents involving dogs being left in hot cars

Screenshot of Youtube video posted by Dr. Ernie Ward to show how hot a car gets.
Screenshot of Youtube video posted by Dr. Ernie Ward to show how hot a car gets.
By Autumn Johnson

After responding to numerous calls of pets being left in cars on hot days, Livermore Police issued a warning on Tuesday to remind pet owners of the dangers of leaving animals in vehicles.

In June, police were called about a dog left inside a car parked in the Kaiser parking lot in Livermore. Officer Traci Rebiejo of the Livermore Police Department, says the caller told dispatchers the dog had been inside the car for at least 20 minutes. According to Rebiejo, the car was parked half in the shade, half in the sun, with the windows slightly rolled down.

"We found the dog sitting in the only shade spot in the car," Rebiejo said. "It was panting, drooling and slightly foaming at the mouth. We called a tow truck and while we waited the Animal Control Officer was able to get her arm through the window opening. Using her fingertips and a pen, she was able to unlock the door before the tow truck arrived."

Rebiejo says by using a laser temperature gauge, they determined the temperature inside the car was 106 degrees.

"The pet owner returned to the car and she said she was naive and did not realize how hot the car could get," Rebiejo commented. "The owner said she loved her dog and had brought the animal with her to Kaiser that day because the animal was at times destructive when left home alone."

The owner was issued a citation for 597.7 (a) of the California Penal Code, which is an infraction that says pet owners cannot leave animals unattended in vehicles when the animal could be in danger due to weather conditions.

Rebiejo added, "If a pet ends up needing emergency care due to an incident like this, we can cite them for animal cruelty."

A second incident took place in June in the parking lot of the Lucky's grocery store in the 2000 block of Portola Avenue.

"Police found a dog inside an SUV parked directly in the sun, with the windows up and only the sun roof open," Rebiejo said. "The pet owner returned to the car with a full basket of groceries and two children. She was argumentative with officers about leaving her dog unattended."

Last week, in a parking lot in Livermore, Animal Control Officer Kathy Stiles-Holmes says she rescued a dog from a car that was 128 degrees inside. 

"It was 105 outside that day," Stiles-Holmes said. "We took the dog to the vet and amazingly he survived. We issued a citation to the owner."

Rebiejo stressed the importance of not bringing pets in the car while running errands. 

"Something always comes up, you end up being inside longer than you expect," she said.

Rebiejo urges residents to call whenever they see a pet in a car, compromised or not, so police can check to make sure they are not in distress.

Nearby in Pleasanton, a reader posted on the Pleasanton Patch Boards about a dog spotted in a car on July 3, during the recent heat wave.

A reader with the username "Patcher" wrote:

"Dear owner of the silver Hyundai that left your dogs locked in your car at 6:45 tonight at the Safeway parking lot on Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton. It is 100 degrees, illegal, and cruel! The police department was called. I hope they find and arrest you.

In Pleasant Hill, police arrested 38-year-old Angela Kleinfeld after police say she left a dog in a hot car in a Pleasant Hill parking garage at the end of June. The dog died. Click here to read the full story.

East Bay SPCA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Michael Sozanski told Patch, via email:

“Sadly, many pets have died because they were left in cars on warm (and not necessarily hot) days while their owners were shopping, visiting friends or running errands ‘for a few minutes’. What's so tragic is that these family pets were simply the victims of bad judgment on the part of their owners. An independent study showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72° F to 96° F rose steadily as time increased. And cracking the windows doesn't help. After only 10 minutes the interior  temperature could rise by 19°; in 30 minutes, it can rise by over 34°! And it keeps rising. Please do not leave your pet in a parked car on a hot day for any length of time. Leave them at home or take them with you when you leave your car.”

This video shows how it might feel to your pet in a hot car. 

Recent Patch articles about pets left in hot cars: 

Have you seen cases of this happening where you live? What did you do? Patch us your comments in the comments section below.
Linda Carolson July 11, 2013 at 03:19 PM
In addition to the hazards of leaving them in a vehicle, I would like to point out the hazards of walking a dog in the heat. I cannot count the number of times I have seen people walking a dog in the heat without carrying any water for the dog. They don't have to he in a hot car to suffer. As to the punishment for those who leave dogs in cars - I say that rather than a citation, these offenders should be forced to sit in that same car under the same conditions for the same length of time they left their pets. And they should do it wearing a coat, since dogs are wearing their fur coats when they are left there. Don't give them any water. Don't let them fan themselves with a newspaper. But just be stuck there like they left their pets. I cannot imagine how somebody says they love their dog and then treats them so badly. Let them feel that kind of love.
Carolyn July 11, 2013 at 06:28 PM
I sure hope they get a huge fine out time in jail!
Julie Deane July 13, 2013 at 01:28 PM
If we had legal permission to break the window to rescue a pet in need, maybe pet owners would think twice. I saw an elderly woman left in a car once, pretty hot out that day. I knocked on the window and asked if she was ok. She stated that she was, I had to believe her. But, pets can't answer you, so I think you should be able to break them out if necessary.
Becky July 16, 2013 at 10:45 AM
My neighbors friend was visiting and left her dog in the car half in sun and half in shade that was moving off the car. The dog looked hot, so I knocked on the door and told them. She brushed me off and said the dog was fine without even going outside to check. My mom left her dog in the car, and the dog chewed off the gear shift knob.
Simon September 17, 2013 at 12:57 AM
My experience is the complete opposite! I was given a citation by the Danville police for leaving my dog in the car and I feel violated! Some “busy body”, who probably does not even own a dog, wasted the police’s time and caused me to get a ticket, without understanding the real situation. I take my dog to all of my son’s soccer games. The dog probably goes to 30-40 games per year. The dog likes to ride in the car, travel and see places rather than be left in the house for 4-6 hours on its own. We have a routine. I drop my son off 45 mins before the game starts. During this time, I walk/exercise the dog and then leave it in the car for the 65 mins that the game lasts (30 min halves and half time). All 6 windows in the car are down several inches. There is water in the car. The dog likes being in the car because the windows are tinted, the car is cooler and it is out of the direct sunlight. This time, I dropped off the dog after the walk. She had water throughout the walk. She is panting because she has just been for a walk. She also barks temporarily when I walk away from the car. I was 50 yards away watching the only game going on. It is clear the cars in the parking lot belong to people at the game. Someone must have passed by the car just after I left and saw a panting, barking dog. Instead of coming over to the game to find out which spectator owned the dog, they immediately call the police. I come back to the car after 40 mins to find the police swarming around it. They are angry because they have been baby sitting the dog all this time and wasted no time telling me that they had more important things to do. Against my protest – showing them the open windows and the water, they give me a citation for animal cruelty. When I let the dog out of the car, the dog has a big smile on its face and even jumps up on the male police officer in a playful manner. It then starts barking at a passing dog. Hardly the signs of a distressed dog! This is how she always is, every day! The police keep talking about how the temperature is 85 degrees outside, so it must be 102 degrees inside the car. The car is clearly not 102 degrees. It is much more comfortable being inside than being out in the direct sunlight. I know my dog. We have a routine. But I get the ticket because some passer-by misreads the situation, does not have the guts to walk over to some adults watching a game of youth soccer 50 yards away and calls the police instead. That person should be getting the ticket for wasting 60 mins of police time (from arrival time to departure time).


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