Hot dogs and hotter cars

Sheriff’s office recommends leaving dogs at home

A dog left in a vehicle during a 92-degree day caused concern for passers-by. Rachel Cates, county animal control officer, recommends leaving pets at home.

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A dog left in a vehicle during a 92-degree day caused concern for passers-by. Rachel Cates, county animal control officer, recommends leaving pets at home.

Cooler temperatures might be right around the corner with the coming of autumn, but Hood River County is still in the summer season. And it’s been a hot one.

Concerned citizens have been reporting numerous cases of dogs left in hot vehicles this spring and summer, according to Rachel Cates, animal control officer at the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.

Since April 1, Cates said the office has had 65 calls regarding dogs in parked vehicles.

“There are, unfortunately, still a large number of people leaving their dog in vehicles this time of year,” she said. This is problematic because temperatures inside vehicles can rise to extreme levels.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, (, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, the vehicle’s internal temperature can rise about 30 degrees, and at 60 minutes, more than 40 degrees.

“Even on a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside your vehicle,” AVMA explained on their website.

Cates said that the majority of the calls the office receives are for dogs who are not left “very long” in a vehicle.

“The car is usually gone before myself or an officer get there,” she said.

Cates has responded to a handful of “hot dog” calls herself this summer, many on the weekends or evenings, when she’s off duty. She’s issued one citation, to an owner who left her dog in a vehicle on a 96-degree day; the interior of the car had reached 100 degrees and the dog was showing signs of distress.

Those signs of distress include panting or drooling excessively, she said. If a dog is standing upright, alert and barking, it is likely not in distress. However, if there is any doubt, Cates said she would rather concerned citizens call the sheriff’s department than not. The sheriff’s office non-emergency line is 541-386-2711 — calls should be made to this line and not 911.

“I want to remind pet owners that, according to the Hood River County ordinance, it is a violation of the ordinance for a pet owner or keeper to permit an animal to be confined within a motor vehicle at any location under such conditions as may endanger the health or well-being of the animal,” she said. Those conditions include, but are not limited to, dangerous temperatures or lack of food, water or supervision.

“I ask dog owners to please keep your dogs at home, where they can be cool, comfortable and safe,” Cates said.

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