News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Irresponsible to leave pets in parked vehicles

To The Daily: On a recent 93-degree day, my husband and I were shocked to see a dog left inside a truck at a local restaurant. Perhaps the owner felt leaving the windows cracked an inch or two was sufficient; however, the animal was clearly distressed, restless, panting heavily. A waitress inside canvassed patrons and found the owner. When told a customer was concerned about his petís welfare, he did not appreciate my concern, expressing anger that someone might think he was not responsible for his animal.

While I do not think he was acting maliciously toward his pet, leaving an animal in a parked vehicle in weather like this for the time it takes to eat a meal is irresponsible. The temperature can skyrocket after just a few minutes; leaving windows cracked or parking in shade does little to alleviate this pressure-cooker effect.

On an 85-degree day, temperatures inside cars with windows slightly open can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes; after 30 minutes, temperatures can reach 120 degrees. A recent study by Stanford University School of Medicine showed even mild days show a dramatic increase in temperatures. On a 72-degree day, interior temperatures can rise an average of 40 degrees within an hour, with 80 percent of the increase within 30 minutes. Cracked windows provide little relief.

Pets are more susceptible to overheating than humans. Dogsí sweat glands are on their noses and paw pads and are inadequate for cooling during hot days. Panting and drinking water helps cool them, but breathing only overheated air can lead to brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes (source: Humane Society of the United States).

Please be responsible and leave your pet home if you plan to leave your vehicle unattended for any length of time during warm weather.

Elizabeth Hutchings

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