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Officials remind public of dangers of leaving pets in hot cars

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Posted at 10:00 PM, Jun 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-30 00:00:40-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two reports of dogs in hot cars over the weekend has prompted law enforcement to remind pet owners to keep their pets out of parked vehicles.

It is illegal for any person to carry or confine an animal in or upon a vehicle in an inhumane manner. That is a Summit County Animal Control ordinance that was applied in one case in Park City over the weekend.

“We actually got a call earlier in the day that two dogs in a vehicle up by park City Mountain Resort," said Capt. Phil Kirk with the Park City Police Department.

A passerby noticed a driver had left his two dogs in his truck in the sun for hours with the windows cracked. The dogs seemed distressed. The person contacted police and animal control cited the man with cruelty to animals.

“They were impounded, taken from the owner, actually turned over to another relative in the family," Kirk said.

Another dog had to be rescued from a hot car in Millcreek on Sunday.

“Being in a vehicle for that long of time with just the windows cracked is just, that’s too dangerous for them,” Kirk said.

Desmond Johnson with the Unified Fire Department said a lot of people think it’s safe to leave their animals or children in the car if they crack the windows or block out the sun. But, as he demonstrates, that’s not enough to keep the heat out.

“We have a white vehicle and we have the dashboard cover – both of which are ideal, we think that prevents us from having to worry about leaving our pets or our children inside the hot car because we have more time," Johnson said. "So, we can use an example and we can test the temperature in this vehicle, it’s been parked here for a couple hours... The surface temperature of the reflective cover is 161 degrees."

Deann Shepherd with The Humane Society of Utah tells pet owners the signs a dog is overheating or experiencing heat exhaustion.

“So you might see symptoms of over-panting or drooling, and maybe even lethargy or they stop eating,” Shepherd said.

The Humane Society of Utah also reminds pet owners to walk or exercise their dogs in the morning or the evening so they don’t get too hot.