Northeast Kansas finally gets a break from the sweltering temperatures, but it’s little relief for our four-legged friends.
Humane society officials said the hot weather can turn dangerous for animals in a matter of minutes.
“I think the number one thing for people to remember is that they can’t sweat, they’re wearing fur and they can’t be outside in this heat,” Lawrence Humane Society Executive Director Midge Grinstead said.
Animal cruelty calls are up for the month of June. With nearly 60 calls, Grinstead said the calls for neglect and cruelty are approaching a record, and she said the majority of those calls have been either for pets left outside when the heat index was soaring above the 100 degree mark or for pets left in vehicles, where Grinstead has seen temperatures reach upwards of 125 degrees.
In fact, just last week, animal control officers seized a bird and two kittens from a hot car in the parking lot of a South Lawrence shopping center. Grinstead said the tropical bird was somewhat used to the heat, but the kittens were in severe distress and had to be taken to a local vet.
“I did a deal once where I dressed in a fur coat and sat in a car on an 85 degree day, and I lasted maybe a total of ten minutes,” Grinstead said. “And I can sweat, so I could cool myself down. An animal can’t do that. They’re breathing in the hot air, trying to cool themselves down and accelerating the overheating.”
Lawrence city ordinance prohibits leaving your pet in an unattended car anytime the temperature outside is above 80 degrees, but Grinstead said it can be just as dangerous to exercise outdoors with your pet in the heat of the day, or leave your dog in your yard without appropriate shelter or water.
“Keep your animal at home,” Grinstead said. “That’s the bottom line. If you love your pet, leave them at home.”