HENRY COUNTY- May 28, 2019-- With warm temperatures upon us, Henry County Animal Care and Control is once again stepping up patrols to be on the lookout for pets left in hot cars. Too often, beloved pets are left in dangerous situations where owners leave them locked inside of their vehicles during the heat of the day, while they stop by a store or restaurant or run other errands.

To combat this distressing trend, Henry County Animal Care and Control is now in its eighth year of implementing “Operation Cool Down,” reminding people not to leave their pets in hot vehicles. Any animal that is found unattended in a vehicle, that is in distress, will be removed from that vehicle by Animal Care and Control officers by whatever means necessary, as permitted under Henry County Ordinance. Violators of the ordinance may face fines up to $1,000 or 60 days in jail.

The Animal Care and Control Department has already received several calls this year regarding animals being left in cars, however since the implementation of Operation Cool Down, the number of calls has decreased a little each year.

Director Gerri Yoder of Henry County Animal Care and Control said that dogs cool their bodies by panting, allowing them to take in cooler air but when they are inside a hot car they breathe in air that is hotter than their body temperatures. She also said that the temperature inside a car on a hot day spikes higher than what the thermometer reads on the outside, for example, on an 85-degree day, temperatures inside a car can quickly reach up to 120 degrees.

Yoder said officers from Animal Care and Control will be patrolling parking lots, looking and listening for animals that are left in vehicles. Officers won’t be giving warnings; they will be writing citations.

“For pet owners, the best rule of thumb is this, if you want to go somewhere and your pet cannot get out of the car and go in with you, leave your pet at home,” said Yoder.

Officials at Henry County Animal Care and Control advise residents to keep their pets at home if their pets cannot be with them at all times. Experts say that a dog naturally has a higher body temperature than a human and that leaving them in a hot car could be deadly. In addition, owners should make sure that their pets have a constant source of clean, drinkable water at all times and have adequate shelter from the heat.

For more information about Henry County Animal Care and Control, please visit www.hcacc.org.