When the Temperature Rises — It’s Too Hot for Spot

Following the tragic and senseless death of a dog left in a hot car in Jamaica Plain on Tuesday, animal advocates, fellow animal welfare organizations, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are joining the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) in reminding the public that leaving an animal in a hot car isn’t just a health hazard — it’s also illegal in Massachusetts.

“It is terrible to lose an animal under such preventable circumstances,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement to ARL. “As we close out the final weeks of summer, I remind all Bostonians to never leave pets alone in the car, especially on a hot day. If you see an animal locked in a car and are not able to immediately locate the owner, please call 911. You could help save a life.”

The investigation is ongoing, however officials believe the dog’s owner left the animal alone, in a pickup truck with California tags, for the better part of three hours. Despite the valiant efforts of first responders, the dog was unable to be saved.

While New England is in the height of summer, it’s important to remember that with temperatures even below 80 degrees, the threat for heat stroke still exists. Pets don’t sweat like humans do, making them unable to cool their bodies off efficiently in the heat.

Keep your pet safe and healthy by following these important guidelines:

  •   Prevention is always your best bet. Whenever possible, leave your pet at home in a low humidity and temperature-controlled room.
  •   If your pet must be outdoors, find a shady spot with ample air flow to prevent overheating.
  •   Hydration. This is key, so keep a bowl of cold water accessible at all times.
  •   Exercise wisely. Limit exercise to the morning or evening hours when temperatures are at their coolest.
  •   Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. When the outside temperature is just 80 degrees, inside a parked car, the temperature can rise to more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes, leaving your pet susceptible to deadly heat stroke.

Too Hot for Spot Legislation

With the passage of S. 2369 in November, 2016, it is now illegal in Massachusetts to confine any animal in a vehicle when extreme heat or cold could be dangerous to the health and well-being of the animal. The law also allows Animal Control Officers, law enforcement officer and firefighters the legal right to enter a vehicle to retrieve an animal in danger. Regular citizens can also act to save an animal in danger, however only after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner, and contacting first responders. Pet owners can be cited up to $500 and face possible forfeiture of the animal.

Spread the Word

This tragic death certainly could have been avoided, and prevention is a part of responsible pet ownership. Never leave your animal in a hot car, and if you see an animal in distress, take action by contacting your local authorities immediately.