As spring transitions to summer and temperatures start to climb, the Wake Forest Police Department is warning residents to never leave children or pets in an unattended vehicle. Officials are also offering clear instruction on what to do if you see a child or pet left alone in a car.
“Anyone who sees a child or animal left unattended in a vehicle should stay with the vehicle and call the police department,” said Wake Forest Police Chief Jeff Leonard.
Last year, Wake Forest Police arrested a Franklinton woman and charged her with animal cruelty after her two dogs died as a result of being left in an unattended vehicle for nearly three hours. Although the outside temperature on the day of the incident was a comfortable 80 degrees, the reported temperature inside the vehicle exceeded 120.
The following tips are provided for pet owners and for those who see animals or children left unattended in vehicles:
• If you see an animal or child inside a vehicle, call 911 because this is an emergency. The police department is equipped with tools designed to enter locked vehicles and may do so in lieu of immediately locating the owner.
• Do not leave an animal or child in a hot car even with the air conditioner running. Doing so could result in having your vehicle stolen.
Experts say once a dog has an internal body temperature of 102 it is hard for them to cool themselves down. The only two ways they can cool themselves down is by panting and sweating through their feet.
A few symptoms of animals suffering from heatstroke are bright red gums, and heavy and thick salivation. Boxers and bulldogs are the two breeds of dogs that get the hottest most easily, because they have short noses.
The following tips help prevent heatstroke in dogs:
• Don’t take a dog for a walk when it’s 95 degrees or hotter.
• If a healthy dog (not an older dog) is kept outside in warm weather, make sure they have lots of shade, fresh water and preferably a child’s pool if needed.
• Take the dog’s temperature if concerned they are overheated and then take the animal to the veterinarian’s office or an emergency vet clinic if it’s after regular business hours.