The ASPCA reports that it takes a car just 10 minutes of sitting in 85 degree weather to break 100 degrees inside – and that’s true even with “the windows cracked.” Since dogs cannot sweat or cool themselves in the way humans can, they can experience heat stroke in that environment within just 15 minutes.
The fact that police officers kill so many unarmed Americans suddenly seems less surprising once you realize how many cops are responsible for killing their own partners. In the past month or so alone, four police dogs have diedafter being left in the back of a cop car on a hot day. While these fatalities seem to be the result of negligence rather than maliciousness, something must be done to prevent more hardworking police dogs from suffering a similar fate.
Care2 has a new petitionaiming to put a stop to these tragedies. Before signing, catch up on the heartbreakingstories of these four fallen canine heroes:
Mason: This 3-year-old Alabama pooch died after being accidentally left in the back of a hot police car on June 18. Though police cars in Alabama that carry most police dogs are equipped with life-saving technology to prevent such an accident, since Mason was employed for communityoutreach rather than “enforcement,” he did not ride in such cars.
Nitro: In late June, another 3-year-old dog, Nitro, inStockton, Calif., died in a hot car while his handler was participating in a civilian arrest. The air conditioner in the K9 patrol car is supposed to automatically run in hot conditions, but – for unknown reasons – this backup system did not go into effect. The police department is checking other K9 cars to ensure a similar mishap doesn’t occur again.
Baston– This 7-year-old German shepherd died in the back of his handler’s car, where he was left in 90 degree weather for at least three hours in early July. By the time the Rincon,Ga., officer remembered the dog was still in the car, Bastonwas dead.
Zane– In mid-July, a Conyers, Ga., officer made a similar mistake leaving the 5-year-old bloodhound Zane in the back of a car for over 10 hours. The officer made attempts to revive the dog upon discovering his mistake to no avail.
Sadly, this is not a recent phenomenon. Last summer, The Washington Post reported on multiple police dogs that suffered a similar fate. These devastating incidents are extra upsetting when you realize that while the average American can be prosecuted for this form of animal abuse, officers who leave dogs in their cars are never charged with a crime.
Since two police dogs have died in this manner in Georgia in July, the Care2 petition focuses on that state to make a quick change. As People Magazine points out, there are nolaws in the state forbidding officers from leaving dogs in the back of cars. Jeff Schettler, the CEO at the Georgia K9 National Training Center argues that not allowing dogs to stay in a car would hinder the police officers’ jobs. “If there are going to be laws, it should be more about safety equipment for heat injuries for the dogs, not necessarily that dogs cannot be kept in their cars,” Schettler said.
Okay, let’s go with that then. Either Georgia police need to spend the money to install technology that prevents cars from overheating while dogs are inside. If police budgets are too tight to accommodate for these updates, then police dogs should not be allowed to remain in vehicles.
There’s a good chance Georgia will respond to this petition, too. Earlier this year, 116,000 Care2 members rallied behind a Georgia veteran who broke a car window to save a trapped dog. Though laws don’t permit Georgians to break windows to save dogs as they can children, the petition helped convince the District Attorney to drop charges against the veteran.