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Monday Breakdown - Animals left in hot cars

July 21, 2013

HAGERSTOWN — With temperatures nearing the 100-degree mark during the past week, some area residents expressed concerns about animals being left in cars and what agencies to call to report such activity.

“I called the humane society a few days ago and they were closed in the evening when I saw two dogs at the City Park, locked in the car,” a Hagerstown resident said recently in Mail Call. “Then I called the police department, and they told me they don’t handle such matters, that I was to call the humane society.”

Another person in Mail Call a day later said she was told that as long as the vehicle’s windows were cracked and there was ventilation, there was nothing that could be done about an animal being left in a car.

“But I’m curious about who you also call when you do see this, if the city police or anybody doesn’t respond to it,” the Hagerstown resident said.

Michael Lausen, executive director of the Humane Society of Washington County, said in an email Thursday that people concerned about animals left in cars should call the agency at 301-733-2060, and calls will be routed to field service officers.

The field services office is staffed with three officers from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and one officer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Lausen said.

The after-hours emergency number is 301-790-7577, Lausen said, adding that he and Field Service Manager Andy Smith would respond to emergencies 24 hours a day.

“A dog left in the car on a 95-degree day for 10 minutes is actually 114 degrees inside the car,” Lausen said in the email.

Lausen said police have responded in some cases, and a fine of $70 is possible for people found to be endangering a cat or dog by leaving them in a hot vehicle, according to Maryland law.

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— Compiled by C.J. Lovelace

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Monday Breakdown
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