Fayetteville sees increase in animals left in hot vehicles

The Fayetteville Animal Services division has seen an increase in complaints about animals being left in vehicles during hot weather in the last two weeks.

Officers have responded to 14 calls about dogs left in hot vehicles at various businesses around town, said Anthony Rankin, programs manager for the division. Rankin said six of those complaints resulted in the owners being issued citations for animal cruelty when temperatures were measured at over 105 degrees inside the vehicles.

“It is unusual for us to see this many complaints this early in the year, and the number that we have already seen is surprising,” said Rankin. “In the same time frame last year they only responded to two complaints of this type.”

According to a study cited by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the temperature inside a vehicle on an 85-degree summer day can reach 114 degrees within 20 minutes.

“That’s why we treat these kinds of calls as emergencies,” said Rankin. “Some people don’t understand what kind of risk they are taking with their pets. Even a quick trip into the store could result in a tragedy.”

Rankin said it is the division’s policy to remove the animals if the temperature exceeds 110 degrees or if the animal appears to be suffering from signs of heat exhaustion. If the owner of the animal cannot be located, Rankin said the Fayetteville Police Department will be called to help open the vehicle.

“It’s really quite simple,” said Rankin. “If you wouldn’t sit in the car because it’s too hot, then you shouldn’t expect your pet to do the same.”