FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control has received 129 calls of animals in locked cars from May 1 – July 19, 2017. “It’s still happening every single day. Officers see it every day,” says Holly Pasquinelli, Community Relations and Education Specialist at Animal Care and Control. Animal Control Officer Jessica Bachert said, “Animals don’t sweat like people do, so to keep themselves cool they pant and then they sweat through the pads of their feet. So their body’s ability to expel that heat is much less compared to people. And their internal body temperature is already much more elevated than ours, so it doesn’t take a whole lot of time for them to be in a situation where it’s hazardous.” She went on to explain, “people wouldn’t leave their kid in the car. Your pet is the same way.”
A month ago Nick Natario, Indiana Statehouse Bureau Chief, explained a new law permitting citizens to take action when they come across an animal in a hot vehicle. Animal Care and Control says, “The thing we want people to understand about the new law is it’s important to understand what it means. It’s not just you drive by a car and you can knock the window out. You have to have clear signs of distress of the animal inside that car and most importantly you have to stay on the scene.” You need to stay on the scene, so Animal Care and Control can get information from you about what you saw. An animal in distress is one that is heavy panting, doesn’t have water, and appears to be uncomfortable.
Officer Bachert explained if the temperature inside a car is 85º or above, that is hazardous to the animal. That is all the grounds she needs to remove the animal and get it to safety. These calls of animals locked in a vehicle are considered animal neglect. Cracking the window or leaving a sunroof open don’t help the animal; it’s not letting enough cool air in to be of any benefit to the animal. Studies have shown that a car left in the sun will be 20 degrees hotter in just 10 minutes. If you see an animal in distress, call Animal Care and Control at 260-427-1244 or 311, so they can send an officer to help the animal. If your animal overheats, get it into the air conditioning immediately and make sure it has water to drink.