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Dog owners facing charges for leaving animals in hot cars

Fri., July 11, 2014, 6:49 p.m.

Two dog owners are now facing criminal charges after the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service rescued their dogs from inside cars parked in the hot sun Friday.

A Chihuahua mix was left in a black car parked at the Spokane Valley Mall with the windows opened one inch, according to a SCRAPS press release. When an animal control officer arrived the interior of the car was 113 degrees. The dog was panting and showing signs of distress, the press release said.

In the second case a lab mix was found inside a car parked at the Spokane Valley Wal-Mart. The windows were down several inches and a passer-by opened one of the doors and stayed with the dog until help arrived.

Even with the door open the temperature inside the car was 115 when SCRAPS arrived. The dog’s internal temperature was 104 degrees, which is considered capable of causing brain damage or death.

SCRAPS Field Operations Manager Nicole Montano said she was able to get a garden hose and immediately put water on the dog’s chest, abdomen and feet to bring his temperature down. The dog began improving within about 15 minutes, she said.

Both owners have been charged with confinement in an unsafe manner, a misdemeanor.

Signs of heat stroke in a dog include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, bright red tongue and mucus membranes, thick saliva and vomiting. In the latter stages of heat stroke the lips and mucus membranes turn gray.

Anyone who sees a pet inside a parked car is asked to call SCRAPS at 477-2532.

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