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: