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Animal control officer makes observation that could save dogs' lives

A study by animal control officer Courtney Bacon in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, may make summer months safer for dogs, especially those who are traveling, the Portsmouth Herald reports.

Bacon, who routinely gets notified of distressed dogs locked inside hot cars, said she found that temperatures inside cars can rise 40 degrees in hot weather, causing a dog to die of heat stroke within 15 minutes.

Using a laser-guided thermometer donated by Home Depot, Bacon tracked how hot it can get inside a car that is parked in the sun. Outside temperatures between 72 and 96 degrees can cause car temperatures to quickly reach as high as 100 to 130 degrees, she found.

In New Hampshire, the act of leaving a pet in a locked car is a misdemeanor offense and offenders can be arrested and receive large fines and other penalties. Bacon says that owners often believe that the animal will be OK with the windows cracked for a short time period.

"Five minutes can turn into 30 minutes, and a window cracked isn't going to make much of a difference," she told the news source. "A dog can die within 15 minutes."

Even if not fatal, distress from heat can cause irreversible brain damage, she said.  
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