Keep pets out of hot cars - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Keep pets out of hot cars

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

An Iowa woman is charged with aggravated cruelty to animals after her dogs died in a hot car outside a Joliet store.

Authorities in Joliet say 27-year-old Maya Webb of Bettendorf left the dogs in her car while she was in the store for two hours on Sunday.

It was about 80 degrees Sunday when the animals where found.

Eastern Iowa animal welfare experts hope owners will take responsibility for their pets in the summer heat. 

"Don't leave your animals in the car, even with the windows open.  Generally people think that they can crack the windows and they'll be fine. Even with the windows cracked a little bit the car turns into an oven. I know that's a very disturbing image but really that is exactly what happens," said Jan Clarke of the Cedar Valley Humane Society.

Clarke says dogs and cats can't perspire and can only dispel heat by panting and through the pads of their feet.   In warm weather the inside of a vehicle can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes, even when parked in the shade. 

In only a short amount of time, a dog with a high body temperature can suffer critical damage to his nervous system, heart, liver and brain.

The Humane Society and Animal Control officers will be watching for pets left alone in cars throughout the summer, but they need help from the public.

"If you see a dog in distress, pick up the phone and dial your local animal control or police dispatch.  If the car is parked outside of a business, go inside and alert the manager.  They can help to identify the owner," said Diane Webber of Cedar Rapids Animal Control.

"Leave them at home where they're nice and safe and cool inside the house."

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