Steamboat Springs is one of my favorite destinations, but during a recent visit, I found three dogs that had been left in parked vehicles during the course of just four days. In light of this, please allow me to remind readers that animals never should be left in parked vehicles, which can become death traps in a matter of minutes during warm weather.
On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car parked in the shade can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the temperature can reach 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Leaving the windows cracked (or even halfway down) and/or leaving water in the vehicle will not keep animals comfortable or safe.
With only hot air to breathe, dogs can succumb to heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes, resulting in brain damage or death. Symptoms include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite and coordination, dark tongue and vomiting.
Please, when it’s even a little warm outside, leave animals at home. If you see a dog left in a car, have the owner paged at nearby stores or call 911 immediately — the dog’s life depends on it.
Vice president, Cruelty Investigations Department
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals