Police saved a dog from a car in the Splish Splash parking lot Sunday, a day when temperatures neared 100 degrees, authorities said.
An employee reported finding the dog about 3 p.m,, according to Riverhead Town Police. When animal control arrived, the dog, a chihuahua mix, was taken out of the car and given water. It was brought to the town’s animal shelter on Youngs Avenue, where it was in good shape, according to police.
The owner, whom police did not identify, picked up the dog the next day. No charges were filed.
Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals chief Roy Gross said some people don’t realize that temperatures inside a car can reached 120 degrees in minutes and can quickly lead to pet brain damage and death. Even if the car is parked in the shade with the windows slightly open, a person who leaves a pet in a car can be charged with animal cruelty, he added.
“It doesn’t matter,” Mr. Gross said. “The car is like a tin box.”
Signs of heat exhaustion include glazed eyes, heavy panting, rapid pulse and vomiting, he noted. Anyone who sees an animal locked in car should call police immediately, he said.
It is better to leave pets at home in an air-conditioned area with plenty of cool water in hot weather than to take them on family outings, Mr. Gross said. It’s also preferable to walk dogs in the early morning in hot weather because hot asphalt can hurt their paws and high temperatures can lead to dehydration.
“Just think about it,” he said. “He’s wearing a fur coat.”