The Sacramento weather is heating up with triple-digit temperatures expected most of the week, so the local SPCA is doing something to stop people from leaving animals in hot cars. They said Tuesday that thermometers will be given to all animal control officers in Sacramento County. Their goal is to not only prevent animals from suffering and dying in the extreme heat but also to hold accountable anyone found responsible for such neglect.
Every year during the hotter months police and animal control officers around the Sacramento area respond to hundreds of calls mostly about dogs being left in hot cars, according to SPCA officials. Concerned bystanders are often the ones who make those calls. California law now allows these Good Samaritans to break into the vehicle under certain circumstances, they added.
"We need the community to know that there are consequences to leaving an animal in a car - no matter the reason," said Kenn Altine, CEO of the Sacramento SPCA. "The consequences for the animal are horrific," he said, "but too often the person is not held accountable."
Altine said the certified thermometers are calibrated before being placed in the hands the animal control officers, and they provide an accurate reading of the ambient air temperature inside a vehicle. That information can then be used as part of their evidence collection in potential abuse cases.
"By having a reliable and accurate recording of the temperature using a certified thermometer, we can better hold the people accountable for their actions," said Sacramento County DDA Hilary Bagley-Franzoia. The D-A's office handles prosecution of cases involving animals left in cars.
There have reportedly already been several incidents this year, including an animal left in a car where the temperature reached 130 degrees. That animal is said to have suffered seizures, neuropathy, and bleeding through the skin and paws. The SPCA said the animal's body temperature was still 108-degrees-- some six to seven degrees above normal-- approximately 45-minutes after it was removed from the car.