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updated: 5/24/2014 8:10 AM

Know the danger of leaving pets in hot cars

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Warmer temperatures are a welcome change after a long, cold winter, but as the mercury rises, it's crucial to protect our animal companions by never leaving them in parked vehicles. Every year, PETA receives dozens of reports of animals suffering and dying in hot, parked cars. Cruelty-to-animals charges are routinely filed in such cases.

It takes only minutes for a parked car to cook an animal alive: On a warm day, even with the windows cracked, the temperature inside a parked car can reach more than 160 degrees. Parking in the shade and/or leaving water in the vehicle won't help.

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Symptoms of heatstroke include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite and coordination, dark tongue and vomiting. Dogs can succumb to heatstroke in just 15 minutes, resulting in brain damage or death.

Please, when it's even a little warm outside, never leave any living being in a parked car, even for "just a minute." If you see a dog left in a car, have the owner paged or call 911 immediately -- the dog's life depends on it.

Martin Mersereau

Director

Emergency Response Team

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Norfolk, Va.

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