As temperatures increase so does work for animal cruelty investigators. The Fresno Animal Control was busy Thursday fielding calls of animals left out in the heat. Investigators say it’s not only dangerous, it’s against the law.
Its summer and pets can be seen all around town. Dogs and cats can be found lying on the porch of a home or running in the back yard. It’s a part of the happy, go lucky, summer feel but all of it can change in an instant. It happens when pets are left in the heat to fend for themselves.
Fresno Animal Investigator Jesse Boyce is going on his first animal neglect call of the day. Inside the car he shouts over the 2-way radio. “I’m going on a complaint for an animal in heat. The caller says it has no access to shade.” He glances at the car temperature; it’s 98 degrees out. It’s a sad reality, animals left in the open heat. Investigators say it can claim an animal’s life in just hours.
Boyce’s first visit to a West Fresno home went smoothly. The owner only received a minor violation. The dog needed a longer, more accessible chain.
Boyce hops back in his car. He has another call in West Fresno. This time he pulls into an apartment complex, the manager’s called in animal neglect. Boyce tell us, “She says the dog has been left outside for days.” He walks up to the apartment and lets himself inside the gate. Immediately he stumbles upon a dog. “Hey Buddy”, says Boyce. He then makes his way to the door. He knocks a few times but no answer. He takes a look at the dog. It’s panting, its sides heaving up and down. It’s tied up on a short lease, no access to food or water. It’s covered in flies and sitting next to piles of its own feces.
Animal Control took the boxer mix from her home. She was taken to the SPCA Animal Hospital where doctors took her temperature. “Her temperature is 106 degrees; it’s very high. A normal dog temperature is 101 to 102.5,” says a vet tech. “If they’ve been out in the sun too long they can become comatose and it can progress to seizures and death rather quickly”, says Mark Nample, the hospital’s doctor.
Vet techs dip clothes in cool water and place it on the dogs back. Then they wipe her face. It’s a progressive cool down, they say it has to be done slowly, a quick cool down can cause more problems. The dog slowly stops panting, she’s relaxing. Vet techs say if the dog had been left there a few more hours, it could have died.
The animal hospital says the animal was well-feed and a perfect weight. Investigators say many times animal neglect is not done intentionally, but a mistake can take a pets life.
Other cases involved pets burned paws on the hot cement and animals left inside cars while people shopped. Leaving a pet inside a car is a choice that can kill your pet in just a matter of minutes.
If you leave your pet outside the law says you must give them a 20 foot leash, all-day access to food and water and proper access to shade.
Christina Lusby reports.