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Animal Control Sees Increase In Animals Left In Hot Vehicles


Fayetteville Animal Control has recently seen a sudden increase in the number of complaints regarding dogs left in vehicles during the last two high-temperature weeks. "Since May 19th Animal Control officers have responded to 14 calls about dogs left in vehicles at various businesses around town," said Fayetteville Animal Services Programs Manager Anthony Rankin. "Six of those complaints have resulted in the owners of those animals being issued citations for animal cruelty due to temperatures inside those vehicles being over 105 degrees," Rankin went on to say.

Fayetteville Animal Control officers do routinely respond to these types of complaints during the summer months but according to Rankin, "It is unusual for us to see this many complaints this early in the year, and the number that we have already seen is surprising." According to Rankin in the same time frame last year they only responded to 2 complaints of this type.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) hundreds of dogs die after being left in hot vehicles every year. According to the AVMA website the temperature inside a vehicle on an 85 degree day can reach 119 degrees within 20 minutes even if the windows are cracked. Those high temperatures can put your pet a serious health risk and could even result in the death of the animal.

"That’s why we treat these kinds of calls as emergencies," said Rankin. "Some people don’t understand what kind of risk they are taking with their pets. Even a quick trip into the store could result in a tragedy." Rankin explained that it is the operating policy to remove the animals if the temperature exceeds 110 degrees or if the animal appears to be suffering from signs of heat exhaustion. "In the event that we cannot locate the owner of the vehicle, we would request assistance from the Fayetteville Police Department to help us open the vehicle so that we can provide emergency relief to that animal," said Rankin.

Rankin and the rest of the staff at Fayetteville Animal Services would like to encourage everyone to think before they park. According to Rankin, "It’s really quite simple. If you wouldn’t sit in the car because it’s too hot, then you shouldn’t expect your pet to do the same. If you think you need to go shopping just leave them home."