Green Bay Police take dozens of calls about dogs in hot vehicles

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Hot and humid conditions are not stopping people from leaving pets locked in cars.

On Thursday morning, the Brown County Sheriff's Office received two separate calls within an hour for dogs in cars parked outside big box stores. A Heat Advisory is currently in effect in Brown County, which means conditions are dangerous for people and pets.

One call was in Howard. The dog turned out to be OK.

In Bellevue. a passerby saw a dog panting and in distress. The caller broke out the window to free the pup. The dog ran off.

Green Bay Police ran their numbers for us. Officers received 32 dog-in-vehicle calls in the past two weeks.

Some those calls may have been about the same dog. Green Bay Humane Officer Mallory Meves says five dog owners have received citations for mistreating animals.

"Five of them we ended up issuing municipal citations on, and usually that's when we get readings that are quite high," Meves says. "To me, it's just... these are all preventable."

A woman is facing a felony mistreatment charge after a dog was left in a vehicle outside Lambeau Field for three hours. The dog died.

Meves say officers responded to two reports of dogs chained to trees without water. One of those cases happened Thursday morning.

Meves is pleading with owners to leave their dogs at home during hot and humid days.

"A lot of times, people are like, 'I'm just going to run into the store.' But then what if there's a medical issue that happens? That person has a seizure or let's say the vehicle fails and the air conditioning turns off and there's no way that animal can alert that person that they're stuck inside a vehicle, cooking to death, essentially," says Meves.

Wisconsin has a Good Samaritan law that allows people to act when they see an animal in distress. The law says citizens should first call 911. They should also try to find the owner and check to see if the vehicle is locked.

If the citizen feels the dog is in danger, they can break a window.

"I think people see something so they feel the need to say something, and I think that's important, because it's better to be safe than sorry," says Meves.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office says it is seeing more cases of people breaking windows for animals that are not in distress.

Officer Meves says different breeds of dogs handle the extreme temperatures in different ways. Age is also a factor.

It places a passerby in a difficult situation. The key for them is knowing the signs that an animal is in distress.

"Animals tend to seize. They lose body function. they might urinate, defecate. Their gums are going to be bright red. They're going to be panting heavily, barking, whining, crying," says Meves.

Law enforcement says Good Samaritans have been injured by broken glass or dog bites in some of these situations.

They want people to help. They also want them to be safe.

"Should you even be traveling with your pet? It's best to leave them at home or perhaps put them in a doggy day care where they can exercise under the supervision of people who are trained," says Meves.

Police say they've taken no calls about people locked in hot vehicles.

The Green Bay Campus of the Wisconsin Humane Society shared these tips for keeping your animals safe, happy and healthy:

• Never leave an animal alone in a vehicle, because overheating can kill him. The inside of a vehicle can reach 160 degrees in mere minutes, even with the windows cracked.

• Take walks in early morning or after sunset. On especially hot days, any outdoor exercise should be brief and in the cooler hours.

• Test the pavement with your palm. If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for their paws.

• Never leave an animal out in the sun. Always ensure they have access to shade and plenty of fresh water.

• Regulate the temperature inside your home. Use AC, fans, or give access to cooler areas like a basement or darker room with tile floors.

• Take extra precautions for old, overweight or snub-nosed dogs in hot weather. Boston terriers, Pekingese, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos, Shih tzus and Bulldogs are especially vulnerable. Dogs with heart or lung diseases should be closely monitored.

• Watch for signs of heat stroke. These include panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, rapid pulse, bright red gums, and blue tongue or lips.

• Treat heat stroke immediately. Move them to a cool place and lower their body temperature with cool (NOT icy) water, then contact your veterinarian.