Too often, beloved pets are left in dangerous situations where owners leave them locked inside of their vehicles during the heat of the day, while they stop by a store or restaurant or run other errands.
To combat this distressing trend, the department is bringing back the program it launched three years ago, known as Operation Cool Down, and will be employing Oscar the Hot Dog mascot to remind people not to leave their pets in hot vehicles.
Any animal that is found unattended in a vehicle, that is in distress, will be removed from that vehicle by department officers by whatever means necessary, as permitted under county ordinance.
Violators of the ordinance may face fines up to $1,000 or 60 days in jail.
According to department Supervisor Vince Farah, every year the department receives several calls regarding pets left in hot cars.
“The temperature inside a car on a hot day spikes higher than what the barometer reads on the outside,” he said in a statement.
“For example, on a 90-degree day, temperatures inside a car can quickly reach up to 120 degrees.”
Farah said officers from the department will be patrolling parking lots for animals that are left in vehicles and they won’t be giving warnings – they will be writing citations.
Officials at the department advise residents to keep their pets at home if their pets cannot be with them at all times.
“A dog naturally has a higher body temperature than a human and leaving them in a hot car could be deadly,” Farah said.
In addition, owners should make sure that their pets have a constant source of clean, drinkable water at all times and have adequate shelter from the heat.