Officers Urge Owners to Leave Pets at Home
MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – During Marshfield’s recent heat wave, a couple left their dog in their vehicle while they worked out at the YMCA. With temperatures rising into the 90’s, concerned citizens reported the dog to police. Luckily, this dog was ok, but not every situation ends so well. Local ordinance officers have noticed an increase in the number of pets being left in vehicles and are urging people to leave pets at home and never alone in vehicles.
Ordinance Officer Bob Larsen hears many reasons why people bring their pets with them.
“Some of those reasons are they just want them with the owner, they have separation anxiety, they destroy the house if home alone, and they ‘didn’t think it was that hot out,'” he said.
When responding to a pet-in-vehicle call, officers try to find the owner and have a conversation with them.
“When contact is made with an owner, we try to educate them on the dangers of leaving their dog in the car,” said Larsen. “If the dog is in dire need of getting out, we will break into the car any way we have to, to save the animal. The owner can also receive a citation for inhumane treatment and if death or serious injury occurs the charge can be mistreatment of animals which could result in jail time.”
Many times, pet owners don’t realize that it’s hot enough for the pet to be in distress. However, dogs and other pets are unable to cool themselves like humans (through sweating) and what might seem like a mild day can actually be deadly for the animal. Additionally, rolled down windows and parking in the shade do very little, if anything, to help.
“We talk to the owners about how hot it is inside the vehicle versus the ambient temperature outside. We carry a laser gun that registers the interior temp of a car,” said Larsen. “We also try to get them to understand that it only takes minutes to leave a dog scarred for life with brain damage that ultimately can end the life much earlier than expected.”
Dogs like to be with their owners, but more often the safer option for the pet is to leave them safely at home.
“Leave your animals at home,” said Larsen. “You may feel as though you’re helping them instead of leaving an anxious dog at home, but you are really sentencing them to death. An anxious dog at home alone is much better than a dead dog in your car.”
If you witness a dog in distress, please call Wood County Dispatch at 715-387-4394.
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