Looking out for hot dogs

LYNN – Four calls to area emergency workers in two weeks to free dogs from cars underscore a concern Lynn Animal Control Officer Keith Sheppard said cannot be underestimated – vehicle interior temperatures can rapidly rise, injuring or killing a pet.?It?s always a concern in the summer,” Sheppard said.The standard equipment Sheppard packs daily into his city truck includes a hand-held surface temperature device that uses a laser beam to measure a vehicle?s interior temperature. On Tuesday at 2 p.m., he measured the temperature inside a car parked in North Shore Animal Hospital?s parking lot at 126 degrees.Sheppard said sunlight absorbed through windows into a vehicle?s interior radiates heat inside the car, heating air inside it.?It would be reasonable to expect air temperature to reach 126 degrees in a short period of time,” Sheppard said.No pet sat trapped inside the car Sheppard measured on Tuesday, but the animal control officer and North Shore veterinarians use an American Veterinary Medical Association chart to warn pet owners about how quickly a car can overheat on a warm day.According to the chart, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise in 10 minutes to 104 degrees if the outside temperature is 85 degrees.?Even with the windows ajar, it does not change the temperature,” warned North Shore Animal Hospital technician Ann Arsenault.Peabody police on Aug. 27 responded to a report of a dog inside a vehicle. Saugus police responded to similar reports twice in the past 10 days, and Swampscott firefighters on Saturday removed a dog from a vehicle.Sheppard said he is called, on average, three times a week to reports of dogs inside vehicles. In most cases, he finds the animal?s owner within 15 minutes. Some even leave notes promising a prompt return.If he cannot locate a vehicle owner, Sheppard uses the temperature device to measure a vehicle?s interior temperature before deciding to call police or firefighters to free the animal.?I use the device to estimate how hot it may become inside the car in the next few minutes. If necessary, we use the least intrusive method to get into the vehicle,” he said.In cases where animals are removed from vehicles, Sheppard requests an examination for the dog to check for canine heat stroke.Sheppard said the motto pet owners should live by to keep their pets alive is, “too hot for Spot.”

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