Leaving Pets in the Car Could Result in Animal Abuse Charges

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia/Boone County Animal Control has asked people to be especially careful with their pets during the heat wave.

If someone leaves their pet in the car unattended, he or she can get a ticket and a court summons for animal abuse.

Animal control officer Brandon Anderson has responded to at least five or six cases with dogs being left in vehicles since March.

He said one of the biggest problems is at Columbia Mall

"Even the Cafe Court is going to take you 10 to 15 minutes to get your food or Barnes and Noble is going to take you that long to check out the book, so just don't do it," said Anderson.

The problem is when cars are parked in the sun, their interiors reach temperatures 20 degrees higher than what it is outside. This means with temperatures in the 90's, like this week, cars can reach 120 degrees.

The problem is dogs are only safe below temperatures of 80 degrees.

Anderson said another major problem is people tying up their dogs outside and not providing them with enough shade or water.

Anderson has responded to at least two calls this past week for dogs left outside.

He said at least one dog has already died of heat stroke in Boone County this summer.

If you are going to take your dog with you, Anderson advised having someone stay in the car with it, or at least leave the car running with the air conditioning on. But, he said that is still a bad idea. If you are going to leave your dog outside, make sure it has enough shade and water, and only leave it outside for 15 minutes.

The best advice he gives anyone wanting to leave their dogs outside or in the car in these hot conditions is, "Don't do it because you're going to get a ticket for it if we catch you."

If you see a pet left inside a car, call animal control at 449-1888.