Three Spokane County residents were cited on charges ranging from unsafe confinement to animal cruelty for keeping their dogs in hot cars on Thursday.
In each case, the animals were rushed to local veterinarians who confirmed they were suffering from heat stress, a news release from Spokane County said.
“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,” said Nancy Hill, director of Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS).
The following charges were issued Thursday:
— Robert Adams was charged with animal cruelty and unsafe confinement, both misdemeanors, after his dog was found in his car at the Albertson’s grocery store on 57th Avenue. The outside temperature was 93 degrees and though both front windows of the car were open about six inches, the temperature inside the car was 115.7. The dog was panting heavily and drooling. Adams told Officer Francine Rapier he was out running quick errands, the release said.
— Cortney Blomstrom was charged with unsafe confinement when her dog was found in a car outside Mike’s Welcome Tavern in Spokane Valley. The outside temperature was 94 degrees, but inside the car it was 107.4. Blomstrom told animal control officers that she had been in the bar for only 20 minutes, the release said.
— Alona Kutsevalova was charged with animal cruelty and unsafe confinement 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 car, he would have died, the release said.
Animal cruelty is punishable by up to a year in jail or a $5,000 fine. Unsafe confinement brings up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine. With temperatures remaining high, SCRAPS is asking for the public’s help in reporting cases of animals left in vehicles. The phone number is (509) 477-2532.
SCRAPS officials encourage people to leave their pets at home with water, food and shaded shelter in when temperatures are high.