Dogs left in hot vehicles

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- The Tri-Cities Animal Shelter is marking a rising number of dogs being left in cars.

"That just makes me sick because it's just getting hotter and hotter out there every day. You know, these guys don't have a chance," said Pasco resident Maria Yale.

Yale was shocked to find a dog frantic inside a car in a grocery store parking lot. She reported it to Animal Control immediately.

"At the time, it was just jumping up and barking. That's what caught my attention that it was even there in the first place," added Yale.

In just the first few days of this month, the Tri-Cities Animal Shelter responded to ten cases of dogs left in vehicles. That's nearly a third of the number of cases last month. Animal Control expects these cases to only climb with the soaring temperatures.

"A car is equivalent to a microwave, so you wouldn't put your animal in a microwave, so why would you put your animal in a vehicle?" said Tri-Cities Animal Shelter Director Angela Zilar.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says if it's 90 degrees outside, it's 145 degrees inside your car. In fact, the temperature inside your car can rise to almost 30 degrees within 20 minutes.

Experts say it's important to know your dog well. Labs need to be completely submerged in water to be cooled while other dogs are cooled through their chest or pads.

"They can't open the door and say, 'You know what? This is super hot. I'm getting out!' So yeah, why would you expect they could handle that?" said Zilar.

Severe cases of leaving your pet in the car are considered animal cruelty. A gross misdemeanor for that can cost you upwards of $1,000 and 90 days in jail.