PALM DESERT, CA – Riverside County Department of Animal Services officials remind residents never to leave pets unattended inside vehicles after an overheated dog was rescued from a hot truck in Palm Desert.
On Tuesday, RCDAS reported that around 6 p.m. on June 1, it received a call about the dog left inside a hot Chevy Colorado at The Shops at Palm Desert, 72-840 Highway 111.
The high temperature in Palm Desert that day was 102 degrees, according to the agency.
After an RCDAS officer arrived at the scene, a passerby smashed one of the truck’s windows to expedite the rescue of the animal, the agency reported.
“Bystanders told the officer that the dog, an 8-year-old Pomeranian mix, had been left unattended for at least 45 minutes,” according to RCDAS spokesman John Welsh.
The RCDAS officer checked the dog’s temperature and found that it was way too high – 104.9 degrees. The officer took the animal to VCA Valley Animal Medical Center & Emergency Hospital in Indio where it was examined and treated for heat stroke, Welsh reported.
RCDAS veterinarian Dr Luis Lizarraga said a temperature of 106 degrees can be fatal or cause such damage to a dog’s brain that the injuries are irreversible.
“Leaving pets in cars on hot days is very dangerous,” said Erin Gettis, director of animal services. “Please leave your pets at home in the air conditioning, or when traveling with your pet, never leave them in a car.”
The little dog’s life was saved after hospital staff administered fluids and performed blood tests.
A sheriff’s deputy who responded to the scene at The Shops at Palm Desert arrested the dog’s owner on suspicion of leaving an animal in an unattended motor vehicle in conditions that endangered his health and well-being . The woman was released at the scene, according to Welsh, and her identity has not been released.
The woman could face jail time if convicted, although she was able to bring her dog home on June 2 from the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms after paying the $1,033 vet bill at the VCA hospital.
The woman admitted she was wrong and hopes to learn from her mistake, according to the RCDAS.
It is legal for someone to break a vehicle window to save a pet if the animal appears to be in imminent danger. California is one of the few states that allows good Samaritans to rescue animals without incurring penalties. California law – which came into effect in 2017 – protects people from civil and criminal liability if a vehicle is damaged due to an animal rescue.