With the heat of summer comes a threat many don’t recognize. The oven we travel in can be deadly to our pets.

If you are active on social media, by now you’ve seen the warnings about leaving dogs in cars being a huge no-no. Dogs die in hot cars! Blasted in your face every day online by rescuers like me with good intentions to save the dogs of the world who through no fault of their own are traveling companions for their owners and end up as the dwellers of the car with a cracked window in the parking lot.

For a rescuer, that’s a death sentence and for anyone with a heart for animals, it’s a conundrum. We want to save the animal and avoid jail, so breaking the window isn’t an option, but what do we do when store managers don’t help and why don’t they help? From years in the field, here’s what I’ve learned.

Retail managers are under the direction of their parent corporation to avoid any liability and the parking lot isn’t their responsibility so it’s easier to ignore what happens out there and let the local city or county officials handle it. Bottom line, most of the time their jobs are on the line and they have families to feed.

If you see an animal in a vehicle, call the police. They will respond and tell you what you can and can’t do in the situation until officers arrive. Depending on the time of day and temperature, you could be advised to remove the dog or take pictures of the dog in the vehicle for a criminal complaint. You are the voice for that animal, so listen to the police officers. Have a friend in the media? I like to let them know what’s happening and if they are in the area, they can come take video of what’s going on.

Be proactive and think of saving that animal and others like him or her. By bringing attention to that situation, can we save more? It is possible that some people don’t realize that a dog wearing fur doesn’t get hot in a car sitting in the sun. It sounds absurd but some people just don’t think about it.

Have your facts straight and be prepared to educate them. It takes seven to 10 minutes for a vehicle sitting in the sun in 85-degree weather to reach 100 degrees and another 20 minutes to reach 120 degrees. Just running in to grab a quick anything at a quickie mart with a longer line than expected can become deadly for your best friend left in a confined vehicle.

Let’s all do our part to help animals get through this summer alive and healthy.

Kathryn Leisinger is the “Dean of Wags” for School of Wags, a nonprofit dog rescue organization in Harker Heights.

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