OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE FROM SCRAPS: On Thursday three Spokane County residents were cited on charges ranging from unsafe confinement to animal cruelty in the second degree for keeping their dogs in hot cars – a situation that can quickly result in the death of a beloved pet.
According to SCRAPS Director Nancy Hill, Animal Protection Officers Francine Rapier and Nicole Montano spent the day responding to reports of animals left in cars. In each case, the animals were seized by Officers Rapier and Montano were rushed to local veterinarians who confirmed the animals were suffering from heat stress. "People need to understand that the temperature inside a car can quickly climb to over 100-degrees. Even leaving a dog in the bed of a pickup can result in severe burns because the metal and the liner get so hot," Hill said.
The following charges were issued on Thursday (7/12/12):
Robert Adams was charged with animal cruelty in the 2nd degree (RCW 16.52.207) and for unsafe confinement (RCW 16.52.080), which are misdemeanors. At the Albertson's on 57th Avenue the outside temperature was 93-degrees.
While both of the front windows of the car were open approximately six-inches, the temperature inside the vehicle was 115.7. The dog was showing signs of heat stress; panting heavily and drooling. Adams told Officer Rapier that he was out running quick errands.
Cortney Blomstrom was charged with unsafe confinement (RCW 16.52.080) for leaving her dog in a hot car. The outside temperature was 94-degrees, but inside the vehicle it was 107.4. Her car was at Mike's Welcome Tavern in the City of Spokane Valley. Officer Montano had the dog removed from the vehicle and charged the owner criminally. The owner stated that she had been in the bar for only 20 minutes.
Alona Kutsevalova was charged with animal cruelty 2nd degree (RCW 16.52.207) and unsafe confinement (RCW 16.52.080) for leaving her dog in her car at the Spokane Valley Mall. While the outside temperature was 95-degrees, inside the vehicle the temperature was 114.8.
A veterinarian reported that the body temp of the 14-week Pomeranian puppy was 104.3 (normal body temperature for dogs is 100-102). If the puppy had not been removed from the vehicle, he would have succumbed to the heat.
Animal cruelty 2nd Degree (RCW 16.52.207) is a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 365 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. Unsafe confinement (RCW 16.52.080) is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
With temperatures in the 90s and over 100-degrees in some locations, SCRAPS is asking for the public's help. If you see an animal left in a vehicle, call SCRAPS at (509) 477-2532 and commissioned animal protection officers will respond. In addition, SCRAPS officials strenuously encourage owners to leave their pets at home with plenty of fresh water, food and shaded shelter.