Dog rescued from hot vehicle in Grosse Pointe City

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published August 24, 2022

GROSSE POINTE CITY — While you might want to take your furry best friend with you everywhere you go, public safety and animal experts say that, especially during these warmer days, leave your pet at home.

The Grosse Pointe City Public Safety Department responded to the Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, parking deck at around 4:10 p.m. Aug. 10 after a witness reported seeing a dog in distress in a hot vehicle. The witness said that the dog had been inside the vehicle for more than 90 minutes.

Lt. T. Martindale said the officer on the scene found a “drooling, panicky” Labrador retriever-pit bull mix. Even though a vehicle window was cracked open, “In this heat, it doesn’t really matter,” Martindale said. He said the vehicle was on the upper deck of the parking structure, directly in the sun and far from the emergency room entrance. The officer was able to unlock the vehicle and rescue the dog, which was immediately taken to Grosse Pointe Animal Clinic in Grosse Pointe Park for treatment.

The dog’s owner — a 26-year-old Auburn Hills man — couldn’t be immediately located, but he was reunited with his dog the next day. Martindale said the dog’s owner was remorseful and didn’t realize the hazards his pet faced. He got his dog back but not before being issued a citation for animal cruelty and getting a court date, as well as being educated by an officer about summer pet safety.

“They just weren’t thinking,” Martindale said. “But it’s too hot” to leave a pet alone inside a car.

Besides making sure that pets have plenty of water, they need a cool place to escape the heat.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website says that signs of heatstroke in pets can include: drooling, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased respiratory and heart rate, mild weakness, stupor, collapse, elevated body temperature, seizures, and bloody diarrhea and vomit. Pets with flat faces, such as bulldogs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat-related medical problems because they can’t pant as effectively as pets with longer snouts. Older and overweight pets are more subject to heatstroke, as well.

Even seemingly mild summer and fall days can get dangerously hot inside a vehicle. According to the ASPCA, vehicles can overheat even when the window is cracked open an inch or two, and the temperature inside a vehicle can be 20 or more degrees hotter than the outside temperature, meaning that a 70-degree day outdoors feels like 90 degrees inside the vehicle. On an 85-degree day, the ASPCA says that it takes a mere 10 minutes for the inside of a vehicle to get to 102 degrees, and by the 30-minute mark, the inside of the same vehicle can reach 120 degrees.

Martindale said the best advice he can give is for people to leave their pets at home when they’re going out.

“It’s never a good time to leave your beloved pet in a car unattended in the heat,” Martindale said.

The witness who contacted the Public Safety Department about the dog in distress did the right thing, Martindale said. Anyone who sees a pet in a similar situation is asked to contact their local police or public safety department immediately so that officers can take action, if needed, to save the animal.