BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — With the summer heat staying in Central PA, Logan Township Police are using a recent animal cruelty call to remind dog owners about the dangers of leaving your furry friends in an overheated car.
Signed into law in 2018, the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection act gives police and humane officers the right to break into a vehicle to rescue an animal in danger.
“The officer will have a reasonable search of the area to look for the owner, but if they can’t find the owner, then they’ll break into the car in order to save the animal from harm,” Chief of Logan Township Police Department David Reese said.
According to a study from San Francisco State University, when it was 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car rose to 99 degrees in 10 minutes and 109 degrees in 20 minutes.
Studies also show that cracking the windows has little effect on a car’s internal temperature.
“If you need to take your dog, you may want to leave the air on or take the dog with you in the store, but it’s really not advisable during this heat wave that we’re experiencing right now,” Reese said.
While the public is not legally allowed to break into a car in order to save an animal, they are advised to call 911 to report a neglect.
“My concern is that if we’re not there quick enough, and the animal is in the car and it’s forgotten, then it could cause the death of the animal, and we don’t want to see that,” Reese said.
Some symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling and mild weakness. If your dog has a flat face like a pug, they’re at a higher risk because they can’t pant as effectively as others.
Owners that put their dogs in dangerous conditions can be fined up to $300.