RENO, NV (KOLO) Dispatchers at Regional Animal Services stay busy taking calls about the welfare of animals.
Rapid City police rescued a child from a hot vehicle Monday; and arrested the child's guardian for felony child abuse. (MGN)
Those calls can be unusual.
"I can put a call in,” says the dispatcher to the caller. “It's going to be a bit though before we can do something with a squirrel,” she says.
Then there are calls that are all too common this time of year.
“Can you start heading to Wild Island for a dog in a vehicle,” the dispatcher says to an officer over the radio.
Leaving dogs in hot cars as their owners run a quick errand is not uncommon locally.
Whatever the excuse, those who notice the animal left behind typically don't hesitate to call animal services for help.
“We will immediately dispatch our closest officer and have him go take a look,” says Tammy Jennings, Assistant Director with Washoe County Animal Services. “And then they will check the temperature in the car. They will check the temperature outside. The status of the animal. That kind of thing. Hopefully we can find the owner right away. But if we can't locate the owner, and that dog is in distress, we will remove it from the vehicle, and get it to the veterinarian right away,” she says.
Jennings says don't take matters into your own hands, only an emergency responder is allowed to break windows and rescue animals left in cars.
Excuses run the gamut from "I take my dog with me where ever I go.” Or, “I was only in the store for a minute or two."
None of those rationalizations will get you far with animal services.
Fines start at $600 for the animal owners caught leaving their dog in a hot car.
Here's why: a thermometer left in a car can have temperatures exceeding well above 115 degrees.
Those temperatures rise fastest in approximately the first 20 minutes.
Within an hour, the inside of the car can be 40 degrees warmer than the outside--enough to severely injure or kill a dog.
If you see a dog left behind in a car--especially when temperatures exceed 70 degrees outside--don't hesitate to call 322-DOGS and report it to animal services.
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