WASHOE COUNTY, Nev. — June is getting off to one of its hottest starts in a long while and Washoe County Regional Animal Services is using the rising temperatures to raise awareness that leaving a pet in an enclosed vehicle, even for a short time, can be a deadly mistake.
So far this year, Animal Services has received less reports of animals left in vehicles than last year and Regional Animal Services Director Barry Brode would like to keep it that way.
“We want to make sure pet owners understand that confining your dog or cat to the inside of a car, even on a mild day, places your pet in a life threatening situation,” Brode said.
Temperatures inside a closed automobile can easily rise to 20 degrees or warmer than outside temperatures. This could prove deadly to a pet.
“Even a short trip can include delays that endanger your pet’s safety,” Brode said. “Your best bet is to leave your pet at home. It takes only a few minutes on a warm day for animals to succumb to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.”
Nevada Revised Statute 574.195 is aimed at the prevention of cruelty to animals and makes it illegal for a person to “allow a cat or dog to remain unattended in a parked or standing motor vehicle during a period of extreme heat or cold or in any other manner that endangers the health or safety of the cat or dog.”
The law also allows that designated responders “may use any force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances” to remove an unattended and endangered dog or cat from the vehicle.
When it gets to the point where an animal’s well-being is threatened, Animal Control Officers will take the necessary steps, as obligated by the law, to save the endangered animal by removing it from the vehicle. Even if the officer needs to break a window to do it.
“Our goal is to prevent this from happening by getting this important message out to the public now,” Brode said.
The public is encouraged to report distressed animals locked in hot cars immediately by contacting Washoe County Regional Animal Services dispatch at 775-322-3647.