LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – With the arrival of warm spring weather, Lake County Animal Care & Control is reminding community members not to leave pets in vehicles.
Even though the very warm weather hasn't been around for very long – just starting last week – Lake County Animal Care and Control Director Bill Davidson said the problem of dogs being locked in hot cars already has surfaced for the season.
Animal experts say that on hot days parked vehicles can become so hot – even with the windows open – that they can lead to fatal heat stroke for pets.
Not only is the practice dangerous for animals, it's against the law for their owners.
In 2006 the state Legislature approved SB 1806, which makes it illegal to leave an animal confined “in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.”
In cases where the animal isn't injured, a first conviction is punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 per animal, according to the law's language.
If the animal suffers great bodily injury, the person found responsible can be ordered to pay a fine of up to $500, face up to six months' imprisonment in a county jail or both. Subsequent violations, regardless of injury to the animal, would result in the same maximum punishment.
If you're going on errands and would need to leave your pet in the car, it's suggested that instead you leave your pet at home where they can stay cool.
Signs of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness, stupor and even collapse.
If you spot an animal locked in a hot car, call 911.
Email Elizabeth Larson at email@example.com .