The first day of summer hasn't even arrived yet, and at least seven dogs across the country have already died after being left in hot vehicles, including dogs in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Maryland, and Ohio.
At Jacksonville University in Florida, campus security officers were too late to save a dog who was left in a parking lot for 90 minutes in a car with one window barely cracked. In San Antonio, a parking attendant called animal control after finding two dogs trapped in a car. By the time help arrived, one dog was already dead and the other was in severe distress.
As these cases tragically illustrate, dogs left inside hot cars can quickly succumb to heatstroke. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 160 degrees in minutes. When the temperatures are in the 90s, as they have been recently in much of the country, even a few minutes in a car can be fatal.
If you see a dog alone in a vehicle, immediately call animal control or 911. If there is a business nearby, try having the car's owner paged. Do not leave the dog until help has arrived. And unless you're visiting a store like Canadian Tire in Langford, British Columbia, whose owner, Tim Curry, invites dogs to come inside instead of staying in a hot car, let Spot stay at home in air-conditioned comfort.
Written by Michelle Sherrow