Pet owners advised not to leave animals in cars |

Pet owners advised not to leave animals in cars

Mari Katherine Raftopoulos

— Would you wear a fur coat in the summer?

How about inside a vehicle with rolled-up windows in the heat of the day?

Mary Blakeman, former president of Moffat County Humane Society, predicts most people would answer “no.”

This is the reason Blakeman questions why pet owners leave their pets in their cars on simmering summer days.

Blakeman encourages pet owners to put their feet in their pets’ paws when transporting their animal friends during the summer.

“Pets wear a head-to-toe fur coat all of the time,” Blakeman said. “Pet owners should imagine how hot that would be. In the summer, animals get overheated much faster.”

Local veterinarian Kelly Hepworth, of Bear Claw Animal Hospital, has seen very few cases at the hospital caused by overheating. Still, she encourages pet owners to use caution when transporting pets in their car.

“It gets hotter than a firecracker in the cars during the summertime,” Hepworth said. “When the animal’s body temperature rises, it causes heat stress and might even lead to brain damage.”

Hepworth is encouraged by the fact that local residents are aware of the dangers and take caution during the summer months.

“It is surprising that we don’t see more cases of overheating,” Hepworth said. “It shows that pet owners are really careful and concerned.”

But those who do chose to take their pets for a ride could face fines because of the city’s enclosed vehicle ordinance 6-40-030.

The ordinance does not permit pet owners to leave pets in their cars during times of extreme temperatures for long periods of time.

Under a state statute of cruelty to animals, pet owners could face misdemeanor charges if convicted for leaving their pets in their car.

Animal control officer Blake Abdella, who has been working for the department since February, has had only two calls pertaining to the ordinance.

“I told the pet owners to take better safety precautions like rolling down windows and parking in the shade,” Abdella said. “They were very receptive to the advice.”

When it comes to keeping you pet cool in the summer, Blakeman has a few recommendations.

“Pets should be kept in the shade with cool fresh water,” Blakeman said. “Give your pets ice cubes throughout the day, and if you really want to treat them, freeze flavored soup in ice cube trays for them.”

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