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Dog days can be dangerous

July 05, 2003

Ben Godar

With temperatures soaring near triple digits, police say people who

don't protect their pets from the heat could face criminal charges.

A 54-year-old Burbank woman was cited Tuesday on suspicion of

animal cruelty after allegedly leaving her Pomeranian tied in the

yard with no shade, food or water. When officers arrived after

receiving a call from a concerned neighbor, they found the dog

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tightly muzzled. Sgt. William Berry said the muzzle made the

situation even more dangerous for the dog.

"With the muzzle on, it couldn't pant and could easily overheat,"

Berry said.

Animal control officers took the dog to a veterinarian for

evaluation and police said it would be up to a judge whether or not

the pet is returned to the owner.

As troubling as such incidents are, Animal Control Officer

Florante Pagador said they are not uncommon during the hot summer

months.

Officers receive between two and three calls a week about pets in

danger of overheating, usually from being left inside of cars while

people are shopping, Pagador said.

"We haven't had a [pet die from heat stroke] in several years, but

we've had some left inside a car in really bad shape," he said.

When animal control officers receive a call about a dog locked in

a vehicle, they check the temperature inside with a thermometer they

carry and may have police force a door open to get the animal out.

Pagador said people often think they can get out of a store before

the animal will be harmed, but Berry said it does not take very long

for the temperature to become dangerous for a pet.

"Even with the windows open, if a car is not in the shade it can

get over 100 degrees in there," he said.

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