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Two Dogs Bake In Police Cruiser – Help Prevent Similar Tragedies

Two Dogs Bake In Police Cruiser – Help Prevent Similar Tragedies

On June 30, a Nottinghamshire police officer left two German Shepherds alone in his police car. The poor dogs were baked alive as temperatures inside the car likely soared above 100ºF. Both the RSPCA and the Nottinghamshire police department are investigating the incident, but the officer has not even been suspended yet. He may, however; face criminal charges under the Animal Welfare Act. (You can read about the incident here.)

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for dogs to die in hot cars during the summer months. Many people leave their animals unattended in parked cars while they stop at the store or run an errand, thinking they’ll “only be a few minutes.” That’s all it takes for a car to turn into a virtual oven, even if it’s parked in the shade.

On a 73°F day, the inside of a parked car can reach around 100ºF in 10 minutes and 120ºF in 30 minutes. Dogs can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads, so high temperatures are especially dangerous for them. They can succumb to heatstroke—which can result in brain damage or death— in just 15 minutes.

That’s why it’s important to act quickly whenever you see a dog in a hot car. If the car is closed and you cannot safely get the dog out, jot down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number. If it is obvious which building the dog’s guardian is in, go inside and urgently have the owner of the car paged.

This might seem awkward, but the dog’s life could depend on it—be persistent and do whatever is necessary to get him or her out of the car as quickly as possible. (However unpleasant the situation may seem for you, it cannot compare to being baked alive in a closed car.) Politely and promptly explain that you fear the dog’s life is in danger. If necessary, offer to wait with the dog outside the building while the dog’s guardian finishes his or her business. You can also call local humane authorities and/or police; it’s their responsibility to respond to situations like this.

Once the dog is out of the car, get him or her to shade immediately and call a veterinarian if you see symptoms of heatstroke, such as restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, or lack of coordination. You can help lower the dog’s body temperature gradually by giving him or her water to drink, applying a cold towel or ice pack to the head, neck and chest, or immersing the dog in tepid (not cold) water.

Of course, it’s wise to work to prevent these dangerous situations from happening in the first place. Please order PETA’s “Don’t Let Your Dog Get Hot Under the Collar” leaflets, which can be placed on vehicles to remind people never to leave unattended animals inside.

You can also help spread the message by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper and by contacting or 757-622-7382 to find out how to get PETA’s precautionary public service announcement starring Simon Cowell aired on your local television stations. And for more tips on keeping dogs safe and cool, see The dog days of summer don’t need to be deadly for dogs!


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11:57AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

UH! What about people. The children and the elderly. As such, I can no longer ignore the heat and I grew up in Florida, lived in Texas and never had air conditioning. No more! THINK, people.

11:53AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

Constantly reminded of the total thoughtlessness (brain dead) of so many people.

8:27AM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

I think about the last moments of the dogs suffefing in agony and hoping someone will come to their rescue, and I wonder HOW ON EARTH DO THESE INCIDENTS KEEP HAPPENING? Doesn't EVERYone think about how dangerous this is? It seems so basic.....I mean are their people out there that would leave an infant in a bathtub by themselves? I would certainly HOPE not, but to me this is no less obvious. I can only hope some people who didn't know the dangers of this will read the article and be more concerned and vigilant in the future.

12:53PM PDT on Jul 18, 2010

This happened last year I believe. Police get away with murder !

10:48AM PDT on Jul 16, 2010

In England we do have tough laws on leaving dogs to die in hot cars. In fact the RSPCA will prosecute.

However, this kind of thing has happened before with Police Dogs and the Handlers never seem to be punished as severely as ordinary members of the public would be. To my mind they may even be slightly more culpable because they are supposed to be using dogs professionally and should have been taught all the pitfalls..

2:01AM PDT on Aug 10, 2009

I am fed up of hearing sad situations like this! they keep happing simply because people are too stupid to think about they way they are affecting animals! That officer should certainly be persecuted for doing what he did!

9:59PM PDT on Aug 5, 2009

This careless officer needs to not only be suspended, but brought up on animal neglect charges. This is so sad, so wrong, and should never EVER happen.

3:11AM PDT on Jul 30, 2009

On the very rare occasions I have to leave my babes in the car for 2 minutes I always park in total shade and leave the doors and windows open and never let them out of my sight, so far I've not had a problem, even on the hottest of days.

5:07AM PDT on Jul 27, 2009

Really, Dennis K. this Cop DID "screw up" and needs to be punished and maybe rehabilitated - you a cop, maybe, Denneis K.!?

5:34AM PDT on Jul 20, 2009

Police need to be held accountable for their actions.Several officers in NJ ,sponding to NON emergencies have killed multiple car passengers&drivers while driving too fast for conditions.They should face justice just like drunk drivers.

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