Target: Fluvanna County, Virginia Animal Control Officers
Goal: Commend increased efforts to protect pets during heat wave
The recent heat waves our country is experiencing have proved quite dangerous for pets, most often dogs, that are routinely left in cars. The Fluvanna County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia has addressed this danger by strictly enforcing animal abuse laws.
Animal control officers will charge anyone who leaves a pet in a car, for any length of time, with misdemeanor animal cruelty charges. This is punishable with a fine of up to $2,500 and one year in jail. If a pet trapped in a car dies, the owner or one responsible for the act can be charged with a felony. Officers will take any means necessary to extract the animal, including breaking windows. Once an animal is rescued, it will likely never be returned to its owner.
Most pet owners do not realize the grave danger they put their pets in by leaving them in the car. The danger is not lessened if a window is cracked or if the pet is only left for a few minutes. According to Partnership for Animal Welfare (PAW), even when outside temperatures are in the sixties, temperatures within a parked car can exceed ninety degrees. Rolling down a window does little to prevent temperatures from rising, and parking in the shade does not guarantee safety, especially on days with high humidity. It can take only fifteen minutes for temperatures to rise to dangerous levels; once an animal’s internal temperature reaches 105.8 degrees, permanent brain damage occurs, putting the animal at risk of being left comatose. If an animal’s internal temperature reaches 109.4 degrees, body enzymes start to break down. While these internal temperatures may seem rather high and difficult to reach, they are not. The average dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 99.5 to 102.5 degrees. In addition, dogs only sweat through their paws, and must rely on only this and panting to cool themselves. If they only have overheated air to breathe, they can collapse and suffer heatstroke.
By signing the petition below, you will commend the Fluvanna County animal control officers on protecting animals by strictly enforcing animal abuse laws.
Dear Fluvanna County Animal Control Officers,
Your strict enforcement of animal abuse laws is highly commendable. Most pet owners do not realize how harmful it is to leave a pet in a car. Often, they think pets will be safe as long as a window is cracked or the duration the pet is left is less than thirty minutes. By emphasizing that this is not the case, pet owners are less likely to leave their pets, and less animals will suffer harm.
By bringing the public’s attention to this issue, Fluvanna County animal control officers are preventing unnecessary harm to and deaths of pets. By prosecuting offending owners to the highest degree, officers are illustrating the severity of this issue and setting an example for other states to follow.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: mcmorgan08 via Flickr.com