With temperatures soaring, local experts stress: Don’t leave pets in your hot car

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All across Missouri, animal control officers are spreading a message worth repeating: In this heat, cars and pets just don’t mix.

Just last week, two dogs died in High Ridge, Missouri, after their owner left them in the car. It’s an avoidable tragedy — and a crime.

On days like these, it doesn’t take long for a parked car to feel like a furnace. The inside of your car can reach more than 100 degrees in minutes on a hot day.

Animal control officer Carrie Cunningham said you might not believe just how often otherwise law-abiding citizens subject their pets to unspeakable abuse in a hot car.

“We do everything we can to get in touch with the owner first, but if the dog or cat or whatever you have in there is in distress we’ve been known to break windows,” Cunningham said.

Last weekend Cunningham came upon a dog in a hot car. The dog’s owner argued it had only been 30 minutes.

“It was 91 degrees outside, and when I used my laser thermometer on her car that had not been running, that her dog had been sitting in for 30 minutes, it registered at 128.5 (degrees),” Cunningham said. “That’s hot.”

It’s not illegal to leave a dog in a parked car this time of year, but animal control strongly recommends against it.

But be warned, if something bad happens, you could be subject to a fine or animal cruelty charges.

If you have to do it, make sure you bring water for your pup. Otherwise, if it can be avoided, leave your pets in a safe location, not a parked car.

“We’ve had cases where people go to a Chiefs game, a Royals game or the zoo and leave their dog in the car,” Cunningham said. “Why even take them with you? I don’t understand.”

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