WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The phone isn’t ringing as much at West Valley City/Taylorsville Animal Services.
This year, calls for service have been mostly down, except in one area: animals being left in hot cars, director Maranda Weathermon said.
“A lot of people are still home, they are bored, their pets are bored, so they’re thinking they are going to take their dog out for a quick ride and don’t realize that their car can get into triple digits in under 15 minutes,” she said.
They anticipated the trend of less calls to spill into the calls for animals being left in hot cars, but that hasn’t been the case, Weathermon said.
“Which is really concerning that we’re not making a dent on people not thinking about the dangers of taking their dogs and the hot temperatures,” she said.
It doesn’t take long for the turned-off car to become unsafe for your animal, Weathermon said.
“Your dog can go into heat stroke in under 15 minutes in a car. So, your dog could pass for a quick jaunt into a grocery store,” she said.
When someone calls into report an animal alone in a hot car, West Valley City Animal Control officers are dispatched immediately.
Officers use an infrared thermometer to check the temperature inside the car, and of the animal, West Valley City Animal Control Officer Samuel Daniels said.
“We are checking if the animal is lethargic, panting heavily, anything that is outside of normal dog behavior,” he said.
Officers then must make a quick decision on the best plan of action.
“You’re looking at the dog, and you’re trying to decide: 'When is the correct time to break into the vehicle?' if that is something that needs to be done,” Daniels said.
Before a window can be broken, Daniels said they must make sure they have all the proper evidence.
“Once we’ve gotten all the evidence we need, such a pictures, temperatures put down, we can get in through the window,” he said.
The animal is then assessed, and officers slowly attempt to cool the animal down.
It is important that people call animal control and don’t attempt to get an animal out on their own, Weathermon said.
“It is really important that people don’t try to break in and get the animal out because they can actually ruin a cruelty case for us,” she said.
For more information on the dangers of animals being left in parked cars, click here.