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Shannon Williams, Alexandria, Va., animal control officer, reminds pet owners that hot cars are dangerous for animals

5:43 PM, Jun 22, 2012   |    comments
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA) -- If you think you're hot in this weather, imagine how your dog feels! Animal Control Officers in Alexandria are making sure pet owners are taking proper precautions on the first full day of summer.

"We have problem areas where we do get a lot of calls for dogs that are left in cars, mostly shopping center areas," said Alexandria Animal Control Officer Shannon Williams. "A lot of people feel as though they're just going to run to the store really quickly. But they don't realize that once the air is off in their car, it just takes seconds for it to heat up so quickly."

Williams says it doesn't matter if your windows are cracked. It's still too hot. But cracked windows are exactly what she's looking for as she patrols shopping center parking lots in Alexandria.

"We're doing patrols and checking for dogs in cars," Williams explains to the driver of a car that she just inspected. "I saw your windows down and you were parked in the shade. I had to check it out, but you're all clear!"

Last November, the city of Alexandria passed a new ordinance that gave Animal Control Officers some real power to keep people from leaving their pets in hot cars. If you're caught in Alexandria leaving your dog in a car when the outside temperature is 70 degrees or hotter, you'll be found guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor and fined $250.
Thursday was a good day for Williams: no tickets and no trapped dogs.
"If you're dog can't go with you wherever you're going, just leave them at home where they're safe and cool," said Williams.

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