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It's hot - Pamper Your Pet

June 26, 1997

It's hot

Pamper Your Pet

By SAMANTHA KRULEWITZ

Staff Writer

Do you get sunburned or dehydrated when you spend time in the sun? Are some days just too hot for you to go outside?

Now the question is, are your pets out in that heat with you?

Thinking about your pet while it's hot is key to your pet's safety and health.

Mitzi Chapman, founder of Fuzzy Buddies, a Hagerstown group that brings pets to area nursing homes, said not to take your pet in your car.

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"That car temperature gets to 120 degrees and will actually fry the dog's brain," Chapman said. "If you're going to go to the store, leave the dog at home and bring him a toy."

Chapman said the dog might not like that you're leaving him at home, but it's for his own good.

Keller Haden, animal control supervisor with Washington County's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, agreed.

Haden also said jogging with your dog is a bad idea during the summer.

"People often jog with their dogs, but they're better off not doing it," Haden said. "The dog can't sweat off the heat. You should limit their strenuous activity."

Haden said that neither cats nor dogs sweat, so they need a constant intake of water to maintain their body temperature.

"The water level should be fairly deep to keep it cool," Haden said. "It should be kept in the shade and secured so that it can't be spilled or knocked over."

If you keep your pet outside, it must be able to reach the shade, Haden said.

"A dog house is not shade," Haden said. "It acts like a hot box."

Inside is a better, safer place for your pet, she said.

"The inside of your home should have good ventilation or air conditioning," Haden said. "But the key is water."

If you do not protect your pet from the elements or if you leave your pet in your parked car, you can be fined, jailed or both.

Maryland has the most lenient law in the Tri-State area. Under the Maryland Motor Vehicles Law you can be fined $45 for leaving a pet unattended in a car if all the windows are closed, said Cpl. Greg Barnhart, who is with the Hagerstown Barracks of Maryland State Police.

"Endangering the health, safety or welfare of a cat or dog by leaving that cat or dog unattended in a vehicle warrants the fine," Barnhart said.

In West Virginia, the fine is much steeper. Sgt. Jim Humphrey with the state police said leaving a pet in a car is considered cruelty to animals and is a crime under West Virginia Criminal and Traffic Law.

"You can get a $100 to $1,000 fine or be confined for up to six months in the county jail, or both," Humphrey said.

Cpl. William Baker of Pennsylvania State Police said the fine for ill treating, beating, abusing or neglecting any animal in your care is up to $300 and/or 90 days in county jail.

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