SPRINGFIELD — Three pet owners were cited for second-degree animal neglect Wednesday after police investigated reports of dogs and cats that had been left in hot cars.
A Yorkshire terrier, a Shih Tzu, a long-haired cat and a dachshund all survived after being left in cars where their skin temperatures were measured at between 110 and 114 degrees, according to Springfield police Lt. Scott McKee.
McKee said his department received seven calls reporting animals in hot cars before 5 p.m. Wednesday. The temperature at the Eugene Airport reached 102 Wednesday shortly before 5 p.m.
Three vehicles had left the area before police could locate the animals, McKee said. One of the animals was determined to be OK in the vehicle, having been provided with enough water, shade and ventilation to aid in cooling, McKee said.
The others were not so lucky.
McKee said a Yorkie was found in a car that had its windows up at the Grocery Outlet on South 14th Street.
The small dog’s skin temperature measured 110 degrees Fahrenheit on an officer’s handheld infrared skin temperature monitor. A good Samaritan opened an unlocked car door to give the dog air and water. McKee said the dog was lying on the car’s floorboards, lethargic.
At 1:56 p.m., a Shih Tzu was found in a parked car on Fourth and B Streets. Although the car’s windows had been cracked open, the dog’s skin temperature nonetheless measured 114 degrees. The dog had been in the car for at least an hour, McKee said.
The cat and dachshund were found at 2:30 p.m. in a car parked at Shari’s Cafe and Pies on Pioneer Parkway. The pet owner was inside having lunch, and although the car was ventilated, McKee said but both animals had skin temperatures of 113 degrees.
Both animals were lethargic and “critically overheated,” he said.
“None of those cited today intended to neglect these animals but underestimated the time it takes for temperatures inside the vehicles to reach critical stages and the animals conditions to become critically urgent,” McKee said.
Animals easily can succumb to heat stroke, brain damage and death within 40 to 90 minutes in a hot car, depending on the animal’s weight and the outside temperature, he said. The skin temperatures of a healthy dog that is adequately cooled and hydrated is 90 to 95 degrees, McKee said.
Second-degree animal neglect is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum potential penalty in Oregon of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.
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