When a call comes into Animal Care and Control, Humane Officers are dispatched to the car. The officers can take the temperature of the vehicle using heat guns and will look to see if the animal is in distress. The humane society will ask the person who called in to go into the store and see if the store can page the owner, she added.
If the dog is in distress and the owner has not yet returned, Humane officers can break into the vehicle. Officers will take the dog’s temperature and transfer it to their veterinary medical center.
Signs of distress include panting without closing its mouth, frequent drooling and lethargy, she said. Dogs with shorter snouts will have a harder time cooling down. How a dog reacts depends on the dog, so a Chihuahua which likes the heat might do better than a husky, for example.
“Sometimes owners have left the car running and they think the car is going to stay running the entire time,” Schellhaas said. “They don’t understand their vehicle’s limitations.”
There have been 239 total cruelty animal in hot car reports from May through July 20, according to the release. Those numbers include 146 in Boise, 72 in Meridian, 13 in Eagle, five in unincorporated Ada County and three in Kuna.
“When the temps are as high as they are, it can become dangerous in minutes,” Schellhaas said. “Any time when it’s over 72 degrees, that’s when you should urge caution.”