• Penny Lehew, an animal control officer with the city of Burleson, is working to make sure more dogs do not get left in hot cars. Burleson Star/Bethann Coldiron

It’s hot out, so don’t leave Fido in your Ford

The Burleson Animal Shelter wants your help. During the height of summer, they receive about three calls a week concerning dogs being left in hot, locked cars. That’s unacceptable, said Animal Control Officer Penny Lehew.

“There are consequences for leaving your dog in a car and going inside to a store,” she said. “You will get a citation and your dog can be taken away from you.”

Burleson also participates in the Good Samaritan Act, which means if you see a child, elderly person or dog locked inside a vehicle with the windows up, you can break the window without any repercussions.

“There is nothing the vehicle owner can legally do,” Lehew said.

Last summer, the animal shelter got a call about a dog that was left inside a car while the owner went inside Walmart. The shelter had to act fast in order to save the dog’s life.

“It was 120 degrees inside the vehicle when police broke the window,” Lehew said. “The dog was in heat distress, so we took him to the shelter. The owners never came back for the dog even though we had all their information.”

Lehew said even if you leave your windows cracked that does not allow enough air flow for an animal to stay cool in a vehicle.

“The temperature can rise in a car very quickly,” she said. “If you had your air conditioner set at 62 but then you stop somewhere and leave the windows rolled up and you are only gone for ten minutes, it’s going to get very hot.”

Animals left in hot vehicles can get heat stroke, develop liver and kidney failure and could die. North Texas is under a heat advisory all week, and with temperatures soaring past 100 degrees, pet owners need to be extra diligent in the hot weather, Lehew said.

“We are suggesting that all people leave their dogs at home while they go and run errands,” she said. “We want people to leave their dogs inside where it is cool.”

Lehew said if you cannot bring your dog inside, there are a few things you can do to help your pet be safe in the heat while outside. First, your dog should never be tethered. Provide ample water and shade.

“A fun way to keep your dog cool is to buy a plastic kiddie pool, fill it with water, empty out some milk jugs and fill them with water and freeze them, then put them in the pool. Most dogs really love that.”

The animal shelter is also looking for donations of towels, sheets, blankets and Pedigree dog food.

“We won’t turn away other brands of dog food,” Lehew said. “We will share it with other shelters or those down on their luck who come to the shelter who need help feeding their dog.”

Clear the shelter day is also coming up on Aug. 18. All animals eligible for adoption will have their fee waived.

“People can come in and find their new forever friend,” Lehew said. “If they want to leave a donation, they can, but it’s not required.”

To learn more about the Burleson animal shelter, visit www.burlesonstx.com/500/Animal-Services

Burleson Star

327 N.W. Renfro St.
PO Box 909
Burleson, TX 76028-0909

Phone: 817-295-0486
FAX: 817-295-5278