ARL reminds pet owners to not leave their animals in hot vehicles


DES MOINES, Iowa — The Animal Rescue League of Iowa has a message for pet owners: leave your pets at home and not in vehicles if it is above 70 degrees outside.

Last Saturday, ARL animal services officers and the Des Moines Police Department responded to Blank Park Zoo’s parking lot after two dogs were left in a vehicle. Officers were able to remove the dogs from the vehicle after breaking the back window. The inside of the car had reached a temperature of 109 degrees.

Later that same day, officers responded to Merle Hay Mall after two dogs were left in a car in the parking lot. The dogs were also removed from the vehicle.

“All four dogs were under distress with elevated body temperatures. They were taken to the ARL where they received care and were able to recover to safe body temperatures,” the ARL of Iowa said.

Both owners received two counts of neglect.

These instances have the ARL reminding pet owners to leave their dogs at home when it is hot outside.

“This is not a time to take your dog with you to a location where you are going to be for any period of time,” said Joe Stafford, the director of animal services at the ARL of Iowa.

The ARL says if it is above 70 degrees outside, don’t leave your animal in a vehicle. Temperatures can climb quickly. Even with the windows cracked open pets can’t withstand the high temperatures, and the heat can cause irreparable organ damage and death.

Stafford said you should always leave someone with a pet and leave the vehicle running.

“If I were to go get my vehicle right now, which is parked in the shade, I don’t think I’ll last ten minutes inside that vehicle,” said Stafford.

The ARL says if you see a dog in trouble, then you should call Des Moines Police Department Dispatch at (515) 283-4811. Outside of Des Moines, call your local law enforcement number.

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