The heat wave that has swept over the SouthCoast affects more than just humans. Tongues will be wagging as dogs try to beat the heat alongside their owners, but it’s important to remember that our dogs depend on us to keep them safe in hot temperatures.

The Dartmouth Animal Control issued a statement Thursday morning, warning pet owners that leaving your pet in a hot car can lead to hefty fines, or even worse, an endangered dog.

“Dartmouth Animal Control as well as the Dartmouth Police Department would rather not hand out hefty citations and save dogs from stressful situations that could cost them their lives!” wrote Dartmouth Animal Control on its Facebook page.

Believe it or not, it only takes 10-15 minutes for the interior of a vehicle to get hot enough to cause serious concerns for a pet. That’s why it’s always concerning to see a pet in the back seat of an empty car. Seventy degrees may not be blistering heat, but it’s hot enough to put your dog in danger.

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DAC explained in the post that the “Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140 Section 174F” allows for interference by animal control, law enforcement, or a firefighter if an animal is confined in a motor vehicle during extreme heat or cold. It is in their power to save the dog by any means necessary, and take the dog to a safe location, leaving behind a fine up to $150 for the first offense, up to $300 for the second offense, and up to $500 for the third offense.

Be cautious this summer and keep your dog at home when the temperature continues to rise, for the sake of their health and your wallet.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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