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Leaving pets inside a closed vehicle can be a deadly mistake


It's safer to leave pets at home during warm weather than to expose them to the life threatening risk of being in an enclosed vehicle, even for a few minutes.
It’s safer to leave pets at home during warm weather than to expose them to the life threatening risk of being in an enclosed vehicle, even for a few minutes.

WASHOE COUNTY REGIONAL ANIMAL SERVICES NEWS RELEASE – June is getting off to one of its hottest starts in a long while and Washoe County Regional Animal Services is using the rising temperatures to raise awareness that leaving a pet in an enclosed vehicle, even for a short time, can be a deadly mistake.

So far this year, Animal Services has received less reports of animals left in vehicles than last year and Regional Animal Services Director Barry Brode would like to keep it that way.

“We want to make sure pet owners understand that confining your dog or cat to the inside of a car, even on a mild day, places your pet in a life threatening situation,” Brode said.

Temperatures inside a closed automobile can easily rise to 20 degrees or warmer than outside temperatures. This could prove deadly to a pet.

“Even a short trip can include delays that endanger your pet’s safety,” Brode said. “Your best bet is to leave your pet at home. It takes only a few minutes on a warm day for animals to succumb to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.”

Nevada Revised Statute 574.195 is aimed at the prevention of cruelty to animals and makes it illegal for a person to “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.”

The law also allows that designated responders “may use any force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances” to remove an unattended and endangered dog or cat from the vehicle. When it gets to the point where an animal’s well-being is threatened, Animal Control Officers will take the necessary steps, as obligated by the law, to save the endangered animal by removing it from the vehicle. Even if the officer needs to break a window to do it.

The public is encouraged to report distressed animals locked in hot cars immediately by contacting Washoe County Regional Animal Services dispatch at 775-322-3647.

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office celebrated 150 years of proud service and community partnership in 2011. Sheriff Michael Haley is the 25th person elected to serve as the Sheriff of Washoe County. His office continues to be the only full service public safety agency operating within northern Nevada and is responsible for operating the consolidated detention facility, regional crime lab, Northern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Internet Crimes against Children Task Force, court security, service of civil process, traditional street patrols and Regional Animal Services.

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