FRHS: Leaving dogs in parked vehicles can be fatal


WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE — As temperatures continue to be warm, the Fayette Regional Humane Society (FRHS) is reminding pet owners about the dangers of leaving dogs unattended in parked vehicles. Each year, countless dogs suffer and die due to heatstroke across the nation, a preventable and potentially fatal condition.

FRHS had eight incidents this year involving dogs left in unattended parked vehicles and the summer weather isn’t over.

“Eight is too many, one is too many,” said Brad Adams, FRHS Chief Humane Agent. “I understand that most people who do this want to take their dog everywhere they go and give them the pleasure of a joy ride, but it isn’t a joy for the dog if it experiences heat-related stress and other issues while being left in a parked vehicle.”

If humane agents have to make forced entry to remove a dog, the owner may face charges relating to cruelty to animals and may risk losing custody of their dog permanently.

Even on seemingly mild days, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rise rapidly, reaching life-threatening levels in a matter of minutes. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to heat, as they cannot regulate their body temperature as efficiently as humans can.

Adams urges all pet owners to prioritize the safety and well-being of their furry companions by following these guidelines:

Never Leave Your Dog Unattended in a Parked Vehicle: Even with the windows slightly open, temperatures inside a car can become dangerously hot, causing heatstroke and dehydration.

Plan Ahead: If you need to run errands, leave your dog at home where it’s safe and comfortable. If you must take your dog with you, have someone stay with them outside the vehicle or choose pet-friendly destinations.

Stay Informed: Be aware of the signs of heatstroke, which include heavy panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, lethargy, vomiting, and collapse. If your dog shows any of these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary care.

Hydration: Ensure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. Dehydration can exacerbate the effects of heat.

Early or Late Outings: Plan walks and outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day, such as early mornings or late evenings, to reduce the risk of heat-related issues.

Shade and Rest: Provide shaded areas and breaks during outdoor activities to prevent overheating.

If you see a dog left unattended in a parked vehicle, take action, Adams said. Note the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number, and notify humane agents or other local authorities immediately. If the vehicle is parked in a lot that has numbered rows, providing the row number will help humane agents and other authorities to find the vehicle faster.

“We cannot stress enough how crucial it is to be responsible and compassionate pet owners,” said Adams, “Leaving dogs in parked vehicles can have tragic consequences. By taking simple precautions and being aware of the risks, we can save lives and ensure the well-being of our four-legged friends.”

The Fayette Regional Humane Society is a non-profit (501(c)(3), volunteer organization. It relies on donations, grants, and fundraising to carry out its mission. The Humane Society is the only organization in Fayette County able to respond to calls about abused, neglected, and injured domestic animals, 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

To learn more about the Fayette Regional Humane Society, please visit its website at

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