Warning: Keep Pets Out of Hot Cars

RENO, NV - Early June warm temperatures simply foreshadow what we can expect into the summer months. The hot temperatures are also a warning for our family pets, and the dangers of taking them for short errands where they can be left in the car. A dramatic demonstration by Regional Animal services shows us just how dangerous that practice can be. Terri Russell offered to be part of that demonstration.

A REMSA paramedic was on hand to take our vital signs before we started the experiment.

My blood pressure and pulse were well within normal ranges.

And that was important as we prepared to voluntarily lock ourselves in a car where the outside temperature was in the low nineties.

“Just show people the affects of a hot vehicle on us the humans and how we translate to our pets that we leave in our vehicles,” says Bobby Smith with Washoe County Regional Animal Services.

Smith had us get into the air conditioned car and drive around the streets for a bit--just like you might with your animal. Inside, the temperature is a comfortable 75 degrees.

We get back to home base, turn off the car, crack the windows just slightly and wait.

“It was 62 and in 2 minutes it was 81. It is starting to get stuffy in here, I know I can feel it. It, it's getting stuffy and at this point your dog is getting warm,” said Smith.

Its about 100 degrees in the car, and all of us are sweating, and it feels very confined.

We stay still and don't talk much.

But a dog's reaction is going to be different; he may panic, move around, react to people outside, and at one-hundred-degrees he can no longer cool himself.

Animal control officers stress they don't always get a call right away; they may make it to a scene where a dog is confined inside a hot car--20 minutes after the fact

“It's 120 right here, sitting here is 112,” says Smith after about 20 minutes.

For us, that meant 112 degrees, 120 on the dash.

I keep thinking... what would it be like to have a fur coat on inside the car?

Here is the Nevada Revised Statute regarding cruelty to animals.

NRS 574.195 Allowing cat or dog to remain unattended in motor vehicle during period of extreme heat or cold unlawful; removal of animal; exceptions; immunity from liability; penalty.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, a person shall not allow a cat or dog to remain unattended in a parked or standing motor vehicle during a period of extreme heat or cold or in any other manner that endangers the health or safety of the cat or dog.
2. Any:
(a) Peace officer;
(b) Officer of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals who is authorized to make arrests pursuant to NRS 574.040;
(c) Animal control officer;
(d) Governmental officer or employee whose primary duty is to ensure public safety;
(e) Employee or volunteer of any organized fire department; or
(f) Member of a search and rescue organization in this State that is under the direct supervision of a sheriff,
may use any force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to remove from a motor vehicle a cat or dog that is allowed to remain in the motor vehicle in violation of subsection 1.
3. The provisions of subsection 1 do not apply to:
(a) A police animal or an animal that is used by:
(1) A federal law enforcement agency to assist the agency in carrying out the duties of the agency; or
(2) A search and rescue organization specified in paragraph (f) of subsection 2 to assist the organization in carrying out the activities of the organization;
(b) A dog that is under the possession or control of:
(1) An animal control officer; or
(2) A first responder during an emergency;
(c) A dog that is under the possession or control of a person who:
(1) Is actively engaged in hunting a species of game mammal or game bird during the season for hunting that species of game mammal or game bird;
(2) Is using the dog for the purpose set forth in subparagraph (1); and
(3) Holds a license or tag to hunt that species of game mammal or game bird during that season; or
(d) A dog that is participating in:
(1) Training exercises relating to hunting; or
(2) Field trials relating to hunting.
4. A cat or dog that is removed from a motor vehicle pursuant to subsection 2 shall be deemed to be an animal being treated cruelly for the purposes of NRS 574.055. The person who removed the cat or dog may take any action relating to the cat or dog specified in that section and is entitled to any lien or immunity from liability that is applicable pursuant to that section.
5. A person who violates a provision of subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(Added to NRS by 2007, 1925)