Hot cars from a dog's point of view

Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta City Council member Kathy Morter and Mount Shasta Police Lieutenant Joe Restine were clearly uncomfortable inside a car that sat in sun for 20 minutes Thursday afternoon. It's a reminder that leaving pets in hot cars, even for a few minutes with the windows cracked, can be deadly.

To illustrate the danger of leaving animals in hot cars, Mount Shasta Police Department Lieutenant Joe Restine and city councilor Kathy Morter spent 20 minutes inside a car parked in the sun at Rite Aid Friday afternoon.

While the outside temperature was 85 degrees, the temperature inside the car – even with the windows cracked – went from 96 degrees to 120 degrees in 20 minutes, according to Siskiyou Humane Society Shelter Manager Kim Latos’s digital thermometer.

A dog’s normal body temperature is between 101 to 102.5 degrees, said Latos. Dogs can only withstand high body temperatures for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or death.

Not only are you risking your pet’s life by leaving them in the car, it is also a crime, according to Penal Code 597.7, said Latos. She hopes that Mt. Shasta area residents will think twice before leaving their pets in an unattended car, even if they believe it will only be for a few minutes.

After spending 20 minutes inside the hot car, Morter and Restine said they were sweaty and uncomfortable, even without a dog’s coat. Fortunately, the firefighters who were standing by were not needed, and the two were able to enjoy some Thrifty’s ice cream to cool off.

Restine also reminded residents that during the summer months, pavement can become too hot for your dog’s feet. In addition, fireworks can frighten animals, so it is best to leave them at home.

If you see a dog in an unattended car, call the local police department. To see a Public Service Announcement that was filmed during Thursday's event, go to Mt. Shasta Police Department's Facebook page: