Leave your dogs at home!
MIDDLEBURY — If you live in Addison County and buy your groceries here, you are probably well aware of Homeward Bound’s summertime message: Don’t leave dogs in hot cars. The sandwich board signs are up and the humane society is banging the drum, once again.
“We know that most people don’t intend to put their animals in harm’s way. They innocently think that a trip into the grocery store will only take a few minutes. What they don’t realize is that on a summer day, even with their car windows open, the temperature inside can reach triple digits in less than 10 minutes, putting their animals in grave danger,” says Homeward Bound Executive Director Jessica Danyow.
Some of the signs that a dog is experiencing heat distress include: excessive panting or drooling, glazed eyes, lethargy or unsteadiness, a deep red or purple tongue, vomiting, and unresponsiveness. If you see a dog that appears to be in distress, you are advised to call 911 and stay near the car you are reporting to ensure that the responding law enforcement officer is able to quickly identify the car.
Two years ago, “Forcible Entry of Motor Vehicle to Remove Unattended Child or Animal” became legal in Vermont. The law shields people from civil liability when they break into a locked vehicle to rescue a child or dog that is in “imminent danger of harm.” The law requires concerned citizens to call 911, fire, or police departments before breaking into a car. They must check that all the doors are locked, must use no more force than necessary to enter the vehicle, must stay with the child or dog until emergency personnel arrive, and must leave a note on the vehicle about what happened.
In addition to the sandwich board signs at local grocery stores, Homeward Bound has printed large heavy-duty posters with the same public awareness message about dogs in hot cars. These posters are available to the community and the humane society would appreciate assistance in getting them posted in high traffic locations all over the county. The posters can be picked up at the shelter during operating hours — Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
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