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Police Seeing Dogs Left In Cars Despite Warnings

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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.

Police in Frederick cited a woman Wednesday night for leaving her dog in her car while she went to a tanning salon. Police say the temperature inside the car during the incident in Frederick was more than 150 degrees, though the dog ended up surviving.

Then Thursday morning, police in Montgomery County saw a different woman leave her dog behind in Rockville, says officer Janelle Smith.

"We were told she was only going to leave for a minute, but again, you can not leave an animal unattended in these kind of temperatures," Smith says.

The woman drove off before police could cite her. Smith says they always receive a spike in calls for such incidents when it gets this hot, especially this early in the season.

"Everyone thinks they're just running into the store for a minute, they'll only be gone for two minutes, and that it won't get that hot in the vehicle. But it does," she says. "As hot as the temperatures are outside, they're at least one and a half times that in a vehicle."

Paul Hibler, of the Montgomery County police's Animal Services Division, says it doesn't take long for pets to show signs of heatstroke in these situations, so their owners should not take animals with them when it gets this hot.

"If we have to remove an animal because it has started to go into distress, they can be charged with cruelty to animals, which under the county code is a $500 fine."

Hibler says there are plenty of instances in this kind of heat where pets should stay home.

"They warn you when it's code red and code orange that you shouldn't be out there jogging, let alone have your pet with you. Because your pet is going to endure the same thing that you are going to endure."

Hibler says if pets must remain outside, make sure they're in shaded areas with constant access to cool water.

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