Police and Vets: Don't leave kids or pets in car

While the Lowcountry is no stranger to hot and humid days, local law enforcement and veterinarians want to make sure you don't leave precious cargo behind in your car.

Yes that means your kids, and pets.

Police say they can and will charge you with child neglect or animal cruelty if you do so.

Charleston Police say given a hot enough temperature it could be a difference of life or death.

While the department doesn't have an exact number on the amount of calls they get about children or pets left in cars, they say a majority do favor one of the two.

"We're called every couple of days," Sergeant Matt Wojslawowicz, with the Charleston Police Department, said. "A citizen will call up and report more pets than children, but we do get calls of people who have left their kids inside the car, and left their keys inside of it and can't get into it. So we see it more than we should."

Charleston Police say there is never a situation where you should leave your pets or children in a car in extreme heat.

Besides being deadly, there may be another threat you haven't considered.

"Take the kids, take the pets out, don't rely on the AC," Wojslawowicz said. "Take the keys out of the ignition because that brings up a whole new story of now you're looking at a stolen car with possibly a kid inside it."

While air conditioning and fans will keep us cool when driving, it's very different story for your pets.

In 85 degree temperature, the inside of your car can heat up to 104 degrees in a matter of 10 minutes. That temperature is even higher when it comes to your pets.

"Dogs are not like people," Dr. Angele Bice, with the Charleston Animal Society, said. "When we start feeling hot, they're really hot. They have a hard time handling the temperatures like we do."

Dr. Bice said it's because dogs and other pets deal with the heat differently.

For dogs it's done by panting, which is just one of the signs to be on the lookout for.

"Sometimes you'll see them hyper-salivating, or lots of drool coming out," Dr. Bice said. "They're excessively thirsty and continuously drinking. Then sometimes you'll see them get a little dizzy and walking no as coordinated."

Police and vets ask you to call 911 if you do happen to see a child, or pet left in a car during the high heat.

They say it's best to stick with a plan when going out in the heat with your kids and pets.


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