Officials warn summer heat can be fatal to pets |

Officials warn summer heat can be fatal to pets

Samantha Fredrickson, Appeal Staff Writer
Corrine Petra holds her Lab Callie Tuesday afternoon in the Wal-Mart Parking lot. With temperatures in the 90's Corrine brought Callie to the pet store with her instead of leaving her in the car.

With summer temperatures hitting the 90s in Carson City, residents are trying their best to keep cool.

But some residents don’t have the choice to keep cool. They’re forced to stay in the heat.

Those residents are the pets of Carson City. And during the hot summer months, many pets are left in their owner’s cars in temperatures that are sometimes fatal.

Tracy Edgar, an animal control supervisor with Carson City Animal Services, said during the hottest months she receives one to two calls a day regarding pets locked in cars.

“If the temperature is 85 degrees outside, inside it can reach in excess of 107 degrees,” Edgar said. “When it’s getting that high it’s definitely going to be lethal for the dogs.”

She said that a dog can suffer a heat stroke after 10 minutes of being locked in a car. And cracking a window open doesn’t help.

“A little crack in the window is basically the same as not having the window open at all,” she said.

Leah Silverman, a nurse at Carson Tahoe Veterinary Hospital, said some of the symptoms of heat stroke include seizures, tremors, nausea, panting, red tongue, red gums and dehydration.

She said many owners bring their dogs in with these symptoms, but they don’t know their pet is suffering from heat stroke.

“They’re not thinking about the dog’s welfare when they leave the car,” Silverman said.

She said many people don’t understand the dangers of leaving a dog in a car even for a few minutes while they run in the store. It’s better to leave the pet at home or board it for the day.

“If you value your pet’s life and you care for them, always think about their best interest,” Silverman said.

Even in the shade, Edgar said, the temperature can rise to a dangerous level.

“If you love your pet, leave it at home,” Edgar said.

When pets are brought in to the veterinarian, Silverman said, the nurses and doctors try to educate the owner about the dangers of leaving an animal in a car so it does not happen again. But by law they cannot report it to Animal Services.

However, if animal services is called to rescue a dog from a locked car, the owner could receive a citation requiring a court appearance.

Edgar said every situation is different, but the most common bail the judge requires is $160.

If the situation is bad, the animal could be taken away from the owner, but Edgar said that has never happened.

Luckily, she said, most animals are all right when Animal Services get there. They notify the owner, who most often didn’t realize what could happen to the pet.

Dan Shirey, battalion chief of operations with the Carson City Fire Department, said he has received a few calls about pets in cars as well.

“We get involved if there are no other options,” Shirey said.

The fire department carries tools with them to open locked cars in case a pet or even a child is locked inside.

“Anytime we open a vehicle they (the owners) are surprised at how hot it truly gets in there,” he said. “They don’t understand that the temperature gets to be so extreme until they climb in afterwards and realize.”

Animal Services posts signs in the parking lots of many businesses to remind people not to leave their pets in the car. The signs also have a phone number people can call to report pets locked in cars.

To report a pet locked in a car, or to have a sign put up at a business, call Carson City Animal Services at 887-2171.


To report a pet locked in a car, or to have a sign put up at a business call Carson City Animal Services at 887-2171.