AUGUST 2018 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 91
SAVING OVERHEATED DOGS
By ALLISON MATOS
Every summer we hear too many
sad stories about animals dying when
left alone in a hot vehicle. Many times,
people are simply unaware that the
temperature inside a parked car —
even with the windows open — can
reach 100-plus degrees in minutes.
“If temperatures are 70 and above,
just leave your pets home where it
is cool and safe,” says Maria Mora,
executive director of the Nassau
County SPCA. “At 70 degrees a vehicle’s
temperature can reach 100-plus
degrees very quickly, making it a
deadly environment for any animal.
Leaving animals in vehicles during
extreme heat or cold is considered animal
abuse and is punishable by law.”
If you saw an animal in distress,
would you know what to do?
The first step is to make every
reasonable effort to locate the owner
of the vehicle. For example, if the
Parked cars can reach 100-plus degrees in minutes.
vehicle is parked in a shopping center,
write down the license plate number
and ask store employees to make an
announcement to help find the owner.
If possible, have someone stay by the
animal while you seek assistance.
If you can’t locate the owner, call
the police. Often people think they
are “not allowed” to dial 911 when
they see an animal in distress. This
is not the case! In fact, in New York
State, only police, peace officers or
peace officers acting as agents of a
humane society may take necessary
steps to remove an animal from a
vehicle. Make the call and stay with
the animal until police arrive.
If you notice symptoms such as
restlessness, thick saliva, heavy
panting, vomiting, etc., the animal is
likely in imminent danger and you
will need to make a judgment call.
While New York State has proposed
“hot car” laws which would protect
“any person” from civil and criminal
liability if they break a window to
rescue an animal, there are currently
no protections for those who take
matters into their own hands.
Rescue groups and organizations
suggest finding a witness or witnesses
who will agree with your decision
to remove the animal, and then take
the necessary steps to do so. Assist
the animal as needed by providing
water and air conditioning if possible.
Be sure to wait for police to arrive
to give your statement and to further
assist if necessary.
Remember that if an animal is left
in a vehicle, extreme temperatures
can cause brain damage, heatstroke,
suffocation, or death. Acting responsibly
is our best defense against those
who put animals in danger.
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Call or Text 516-974-3178
33 Warner Road Huntington, NY 11743
631-368-8770 • www.littleshelter.com
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