SCRAPS: Owners face criminal charges if they leave pets in hot car - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

SCRAPS: Owners face criminal charges if they leave pets in hot car

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SPOKANE, Wash.  - "With temperatures soaring to record highs this weekend, people have just got to leave their pets home in a cool location," pleads Nancy Hill, Director of Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS). The weather service indicates temperatures may reach 100 degrees in some areas of Spokane County this weekend.

Cars in this heat are death traps for pets. "It only takes six minutes for the temperature to reach 100 degrees from a cooled car," says Animal Protection Officer Montano, "by 15 minutes the temperatures soar to 115 degrees."

"Our calls for reason haven't seemed to work," says Hill, "We are going to start issuing criminal citations for those leaving their dogs in cars on hot days." The criminal citations may include confining a pet in an unsafe manner, and in some dire cases, animal cruelty in the second degree.

Dogs and cats are unable to sweat. They are only able to cool themselves through panting and the pads of their feet. Overheating is not only uncomfortable for pets it is life threatening. Each year in the US hundreds of pets die because they were left in hot cars.

If the core body temperature of a dog rises above 106 degrees the damage to his or her organs and brain may be irreversible, even with medical treatment. "Every time we rescue an animal from a hot car and race to a veterinary clinic depletes SCRAPS Animal Medical Fund. These emergencies are preventable," admonishes Hill.

Nancy Hill suggests to pet owners, "With these soaring temperatures, leave your pet at home." She also adds that if your pet is an outside pet, "Remember to provide plenty of water and shelter from the sun." SCRAPS has dog houses available for people who are in need.

If you see a heat distressed dog in unincorporated Spokane County call SCRAPS at 477-2532 and for pets in the city call SpokAnimal at 534-8133. If you would like to donate to SCRAPS Animal Medical Fund please send it to SCRAPS, 2521 N Flora Rd., Spokane Valley, WA 99216.

(Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services news release)
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