Owner cited after dog dies in hot car

Owner cited after dog dies in hot car

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The rain might have cooled us off, but the temperature is still deadly. Round Rock police saw evidence of that last week when a pet owner accidentally killed her dog after leaving it in a hot car.

Last Friday around 1 p.m., the temperature was 91 degrees in Round Rock. Somewhere in the shopping center off Louis Henna Boulevard and IH-35, a small collie mix was left alone in a car while its owner shopped. Police say two hours passed.

"When she returned to her vehicle she found her dog was unresponsive inside her vehicle," said Officer Dee Carver.

As Officer Dee Carver explains, the owner took her limp dog into a store where someone performed CPR. It was too late. Carver says when officers arrived the temperature inside the woman's car was 140 degrees.

"She wasn't from this area. She was traveling. This was someone that was close to her, part of her family. It's unfortunate," Carver said.

Leaving a dog unattended in a car is also illegal. The woman was cited for two class c misdemeanors including animal cruelty and leaving her dog unattended in her vehicle. Both tickets carry $500 dollar fines.

Dr. Jeremy Varga of the Austin Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital says dogs can die in a matter of minutes even when it's in the 80s and a window is left rolled down.

"Basically their body shuts down because their internal temperature is not supposed to be 110 degrees. It's supposed to be 101 degrees which is normal for them. They're just baking. It's excruciating," said Varga.

Mackenzie Kamerlander is especially mindful of the temperature. Her dog Lila showed signs of heat exhaustion last year when she picked her up from a boarding service.

"Got her home, couldn't walk, was stumbling around the backyard," Kamerlander said. "Probably said she was within an hour of death. Her body was shutting down."

She's good as new now.

"Whenever we stop and run an errand, one of us is always in the car with them or we leave it running. There's no room for error. It doesn't matter in the winter or the summer," Kamerlander said.

Not all dog owners are as cautious. Carver says as a citizen you must act fast.

"As soon as you drive up and you see that there is an unattended dog, or child, or elderly person inside of a vehicle call 9-1-1 immediately. Don't wait around to see if the owner is going to show back up so we can hopefully save the animal's life," said Carver.

Dr. Varga says if you are able to help an animal before police arrive, put their feet in cold water, wet the dog's body and fan the dog's face.

Leaving a pet unattended in a car is also against city ordinance in Austin.

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