As last week's temperatures reminded us, summer in Nevada can be a scorcher. With that in mind, Carson City Deputy Jimmy Surratt, an officer with the K9 unit, reminds people to not leave their pets unattended in vehicles.
"The sheriff's office receives calls every year during the warmer months about pets being left unattended in vehicles as pet owners go inside local stores to do shopping," said Surratt. "Most citizens ... do not realize how quickly temperature will rise inside a vehicle."
According to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, when the temperature outside is 85 degrees, within 10 minutes the temperature inside a car - even with the window cracked, can reach 102 degrees. In 20 minutes, the temperature can reach 120 degrees.
"The inside of a car is too hot for anyone, especially your dog or cat," said Surratt.
Surratt said dogs and cats suffer from heat stroke more easily because they do not sweat like people do.
"If your pet is panting it may be because ... they've been exercising, or it may mean they are trying to get rid of built-up heat in their bodies," he said.
Dogs left unattended or left in situations where they are exposed to excessive heat, such as in a backyard with no shade or shelter, can be considered animal cruelty, said Surratt.
According to Carson City Municipal Code, confining animals in motor vehicles under conditions that may endanger them is a misdemeanor offense punishable by confinement in the city jail for a period not to exceed six months, by a fine not to exceed $500 or by both fine and imprisonment.
Carson City code also gives deputies the authority to break and enter a motor vehicle if necessary to remove an animal.
Surratt said even leaving an animal unattended in a running vehicle with the air conditioning on is a violation of law, because it is unlawful to leave a motor vehicle unattended and running.
For further information contact Sgt. Brian Humphrey of the Carson City Sheriff's K9 unit at 887-2020 ext. 43269.