Animal Control maxed with overheating cases

TRI-CITIES - Stretched to the max in triple digit temps. That's been the case for the animal control workers all week long. Action News dug deeper into the swamped workload of animal control officers.

It's the grind of a staff swamped with calls.

Tri-City Animal Control has four officers. Each handling a separate caseload.

But when the place is closed, it's a different story. All those calls are pointed to just one officer.
This week, it meant upwards of 16 calls in a shift, compared to the usual three or four.

Director Angela Zilar says two or three more officers are needed. But getting the funding is unlikely.

"The sad part about that is you can't respond quick enough to get to all those," said Tri-City Animal Control Director Angela Zilar.

The heat got so severe, one dog died. The owners were gone on vacation, leaving one person behind to check on him twice a day. Officials tell me this must not have been the case. Left outside to fend for himself. And even with a kiddie pool, the dog was beyond help by the time an officer arrived.

And that's just the beginning. This week, officers responded to dozens of calls of dogs overheating inside parked cars.

"Keep your pets at home, keep them safe, keep them inside because it's too extremely hot," said Zilar.

"You have to treat them like you want to treat yourself. You wouldn't want to be sitting out in the hot sun at four in the afternoon," said dog owner David Mccauley.

David Mccauley considers his dogs as family. He was shocked to hear of the recent neglect.

"You wouldn't want to leave him in the car without any air conditioning or windows rolled," explained Mccauley.

He hopes owners take responsibility.

Animal Control says they're in desperate need for foster homes for animals. The shelter is faced with the option of having to euthanize to provide space for new animals. Saying their mission is to: "minimize and completely exclude possibility of euthanasia."

All in an effort to keep these animals safe.

Officials tell Action News most calls for overheating come from mall or movie theater parking lots.They advise owners to leave pets at home in extreme heat. Officials add that if it's 90 degrees outside, it can get up to almost 150 degrees inside a vehicle.