PHOENIX — High temperatures during the Arizona summer (or spring or fall) can be especially dangerous for kids and pets.
In the past three days this week, Arizona Humane Society teams have been on 127 rescues and investigations. Nearly 40 percent of those investigations were heat-related -- meaning pets that had no water, no shelter, or were tethered or left in car.
In June, Arizona Humane Society teams went out on 1,228 rescues and investigations, with 34 percent of those investigations being heat-related.
Why is the heat such a concern?
"A vehicle sitting in the sun can heat up 20 degrees every 10 minutes. A vehicle sitting out in an 80 degree day can reach 110 degrees in less than 15 minutes," said Todd Nickoles, Manager of Trauma and Injury Prevention at PCH.
Heat stroke for pets begins with a body temperature over 103 degrees.
"Heavy panting, almost difficulty breathing because they are panting so fast and heavy. Their gums will be very red, they could be vomiting, they can have diarrhea, they can have seizures and die," said Dr. Steven R. Hansen, CEO of Arizona Humane Society.
Under Arizona law, you can remove a child or pet from a locked vehicle if you follow all five of these steps, as outlined by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery:
1. Call 911
2. Make sure there is imminent danger of death or injury
3. Ensure that the vehicle is locked and there's no other way to get a child or pet out
4. Use no more force than necessary
5. Remain at the scene until authorities arrive
So what are the penalties for leaving a pet in a hot car?
Under A.R.S. 13-2910, it is considered animal cruelty if a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly leaves an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle and physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result.
We can verify that if you are guilty of this, you will face a class 1 misdemeanor which is the most serious misdemeanor.
A class 1 conviction may lead to three years of probation, a $2,500 fine and a maximum of six months in jail.