One of my biggest pet peeves comes for me each summer, when pet owners leave their dogs unattended in parked vehicles during the sweltering part of the day.
Although the dangers of this have been written about in numerous publications, you can bet you will still see it happen.
This past Saturday afternoon, with temperatures in the triple digits, a dog was left in an unattended vehicle at West Valley Mall. A good Samaritan reported the incident, and both animal control and Tracy Fire Department responded to the call. They were able to rescue the dog in time and the owner was cited.
Owners who are cited can be fined up to $500.
Additional cruelty charges could be added if the dog suffers extensive injury or dies.
Dr. Kate Hurley, director of the Koret Shelter Medicine Program at UC Davis, said that people sometimes don’t understand the dangers.
“Your dog could suffer irreversible heat stroke or even death,” she said. “The best advice for these warm summer days is to leave your dog at home.”
A car’s interior can rise to 109 degrees within 10 minutes when the outdoor temperature is 90 degrees, according to the Weather Channel. Within 30 minutes, the car’s interior can be 124 degrees, and within 60 minutes, the car can reach 133 degrees.
Imagine the rise in temperature inside the car as the outdoor temperature climbs to 100 degrees or more.
Even with windows cracked and vehicles parked in shade, temperatures inside can rise dramatically within minutes. Several online studies warn pet owners against leaving their dogs in unattended vehicles on mild summer days with temperatures reaching only the low 80s.
Call the Tracy Police Department nonemergency dispatch number, or if the dog is in distress, call 911. It only takes a few minutes for the car to get hot and the dog to start suffering.
In addition to reporting this situation to the proper authorities, I have also had stores announce it over their loudspeaker system.
I know, I’m a stinker — but one has to take a stand against things from time to time and be a voice for those without one.
Oddly, my next pet peeve also involves parked vehicles, although this one has to do with those who use handicapped parking spaces when they don’t need them.
I have seen this too many times to count, and I always wonder what they suppose justifies their use of these limited spaces. Is it a lack of care for those that are disabled and need those parking spots — or is it sheer arrogance?
Did you know that such a violation could result in hefty fines? According to Tracy police, handicapped parking violations are $343 locally.
Maybe knowing the amount of the fine could make a person think twice. I certainly hope so.
• Anne Marie Fuller is the television host of “Helpful Hints with Anne Marie,” which can be seen on cable Channel 26 at 7 p.m. Fridays. She is also the chairwoman of the Tracy Arts Commission and was crowned Mrs. California 2013 in May. Contact her at AnneMarie@columnist.com.