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Hot Weather Means More Work For Animal Control Officers

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Police in Montgomery County will see an increase in calls for animals left in cars in parking lots.
Matt Bush
Police in Montgomery County will see an increase in calls for animals left in cars in parking lots.

Paul Hibler is with the Animal Services Division of Montgomery County police, and says they will be busy the next few days, as they'll receive a jump in calls. Most will be for animals left in cars while their owners are shopping. He says no matter what kind of vehicle you own, whether its windows are tinted, or whether you crack them open, don't leave pets behind when it's this warm.

"A car can overheat very quickly. And the animal inside that car will overheat very quickly. Dogs cool themselves by panting, and if they're panting overheated air, that drives their body temperature up very quickly," Hibler says.

By the time officers respond to many of the hot car calls, the owner has driven away. But for those who haven't, Hibler says the consequences can be severe.

"[For] an animal that is in a car that is in distress, any EMT, firefighter, police officer, or animal control officer can make legal and forcible entry into that car, and not be held liable for the damages," he says.

Hibler adds owners can be charged with animal cruelty, which carries a $500 fine, and the pet can be taken away from the owner in some instances.

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