MOLLIE S. WATERS | The Greenville Standard
Many area residents love their pets, or fur-babies as some are lovingly called, and owners often take their animals with them while performing errands around town.
Because most businesses do not permit animals inside their stores, pet owners leave them in their cars or trucks, which can prove fatal during hot summer months.
With outside temperatures continuing to rise and heat indexes going into triple digits, the temperature inside a car with its windows up can become unbearable in a matter of minutes.
According to a chart on VeternaryClinic.com, when the temperature outside reaches 95 degrees, the inside of a car can heat up to 114 degrees in ten minutes and up to 129 degrees in thirty minutes. Those conditions are fatal for animals.
Because dogs in particular can only cool themselves through panting and through the pads of their feet, when left in hot cars, they can quickly suffer nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage and even death.
“Don’t leave your dog in a hot car, not even for a few minutes,” said Greenville Animal Control Officer Christy Sexton. “People think cracking the windows will help, but it doesn’t. Heat exposure is bad for your animals.”
Sexton added that pets who are kept outside in the high temperatures of the summer months also need watching.
“Make sure your animals have shade, shelter and plenty of water,” said Sexton. “If you have water buckets for your animals, especially 5-gallon buckets, be sure to get a bungee cord and tie the buckets so the animal doesn’t turn them over.”
According to Greenville Chief of Police Lonzo Ingram, leaving your animal in a hot car is considered neglect.
“It’s a punishable offense,” stated Ingram.
Senior Greenville Animal Control Officer Kristi Sexton added that she uses a simple rule for knowing when it is too hot to leave an animal inside a car.
“If it’s hot enough you need to run your air conditioning, then it’s too hot to leave a pet in a car without running that air for them,” stated Sexton. “I personally have an extra set of keys, so when I go to town and have my fur baby, the truck is left running with the air conditioning wide open.”