Southington Police is spreading the message to pet owners: never leave them behind in a hot car. Especially if you plan to run errands, the outcome can and has been deadly in Southington.
Since July 1, the department received nine complaints of dogs being left alone in cars. Three arrests were made in the past two weeks. One incident in late June resulted in a dog's death.
"If you're going somewhere and you're not going to be able to take the dog with you, leave the dog at home," said Lt. Keith Egan, support services commander for Southington Police.
The most recent case happened on Saturday, July 23 at Shop Rite in Southington. A man left his dog in the car for more than 20 minutes. Police say the car was off, parked directly in the sun and the windows were cracked a little more than an inch. Prior to this animal cruelty charge, the owner had done this twice before. He's due in New Britain Superior Court on Aug. 4.
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"A dog doesn't shed heat like we do," said Animal Control Officer Josh Karabin.
Meaning, it's never safe to leave a dog in a hot car, where temperatures can reach above 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.
"On a day like today, when the sun is out and it's in the mid 80s, a car parked and shut off, the temperature will rise one degree per minute for the first 30 minutes," Karabin said.
Another pet owner left her dog alone on June 29 while she went inside the Southington Library. It was a stop that lasted three hours and took the dog's life.
Police say temperatures were anywhere between 99 and 105 degrees. She was charged with animal cruelty and is due in New Britain Superior Court on Aug. 3.
"A bowl of water doesn't help, cracking the windows doesn't help. I read somewhere that it was described as a metal box, and if you think about how metal heats up in the summertime, it's obvious that this is not a good idea to bring your pet with you," said Theresa Geary, Connecticut Humane Society's director of operations.
According to the Connecticut Humane Society, with outside temperatures in the mid-80s, interior car temps can reach over 104 degrees in 10 minutes, around 119 degrees in 30 minutes.
"I bring my dog everywhere. I mean, my world revolves around him. But if I know I'm going to be doing something for an extended amount of time, I'll have him stay home or if it's an all-day thing, I have someone take care of him," said Kierstin Eraybar of Southington. "Never in a million years would it cross my mind to leave my dog in the car."
Southington Police said even cracking the windows or leaving a bowl of water isn't enough to protect your pets. The best advice is leaving them at home where it's cool and comfortable.