L.A. County district attorney's office launches awareness campaign about the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office launched a campaign this month to educate the public about the dangers of leaving pets unattended in hot cars -- and it's using decidedly strong imagery to illustrate the point. In the campaign's poster, a dog named Bilby is shown apparently about to roast in an oven alongside the text "Hot Oven, Hot Car...It's the Same Thing."
Although most pet owners have heard the warnings about hot cars (and still more have heard of the uniquely-named rock band), horror stories still surface -- the July incident in which a dog died when its owner left it in a car while he attended an "American Idol" audition being perhaps the most chilling in recent memory. Even on mild days, with temperatures in the low to mid-70s, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly reach 100 degrees. In warmer, 85-degree weather, temperatures can reach 120 degrees within a half-hour, even if a car window is left open a crack.
California state law makes it possible for owners who leave their pets in a hot car to be charged with misdemeanor animal endangerment, for which they can face up to six months of jail time. (Should the animal die as a result, the owner can be charged with felony animal cruelty.)
"If you love your dog, leave it home where it's safe," said Deputy Dist. Atty. Deborah Knaan, who oversees all of the district attorney's prosecutions for animal abuse and is urging business owners and veterinary professionals to place the "Hot Oven, Hot Car" campaign posters in store and office windows in order to raise awareness. The district attorney's office offers free downloads of the poster on its website.
-- Lindsay Barnett