PETA Warns About Leaving Dogs in Hot Cars After Teens Are Charged With Cruelty to Animals

Police Find Dog in ‘Possible Distress’ in Mall Parking Lot, Cite ‘Torture’

For Immediate Release:
August 6, 2013

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Victor, N.Y. — According to news reports, two girls were charged with cruelty to animals after a dog was discovered in a parked car at Eastview Mall on August 2. Reportedly, the car’s windows were rolled up, and the dog appeared to be in “possible distress.” The dog’s guardian, Kathryn Leisten, 16, was charged with overdriving, torturing, and injuring an animal. Her 17-year-old companion was also charged. During warm weather, even dogs who are left in a car in the shade can quickly succumb to heatstroke and sustain brain damage as a result. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, interior temperatures can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. If you see a dog showing any symptoms of heatstroke—including restlessness, heavy panting, vomiting, lethargy, and lack of appetite or coordination—get the animal into the shade and immediately call a veterinarian.

PETA makes the following suggestions for safeguarding animals:

  • Keep dogs inside: Unlike humans, dogs can only sweat through their footpads and cool themselves by panting. Soaring temperatures can cause heat stress, injury, or death.
  • Provide water and shade: If animals must be left outside, they should be supplied with ample water and shade, and the shifting sun needs to be taken into account. Even brief periods of direct exposure to the sun can have life-threatening consequences.
  • Avoid parked cars: Never leave an animal in a parked car in warm weather, even for short periods with the windows slightly open. Dogs trapped inside hot cars can succumb to heatstroke within minutes—even if a car isn’t parked in direct sunlight.
  • Stay alert and save a life: Keep an eye on all outdoor animals. Make sure that they have adequate water and shelter. If you see an animal in distress, provide him or her with water for immediate relief and then contact humane authorities right away.

PETA’s warm-weather public service announcement featuring Elisabetta Canalis is available for download here.

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