© 2024 KLCC

136 W 8th Ave
Eugene OR 97401

Contact Us

FCC Applications
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Take care of pets during hot weather

Tia, a dog in the care of Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene.
File photo
Greenhill Humane Society
Tia, a dog in the care of Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene.

With heat advisories affecting the South Willamette Valley this week, Eugene Police and Eugene Animal Services remind people to not leave their pets unattended inside a vehicle, even for a few minutes.

Temperatures inside a vehicle can rise quickly, easily causing an animal to experience heat stroke or brain damage, even with windows slightly open and the vehicle parked under shade.

Under Oregon’s “Good Samaritan” law regarding dogs or kids in hot cars, anyone, not just police, can enter a motor vehicle, “by force or otherwise” to remove an unattended child or domestic animal without fear of criminal or civil liability if certain requirements are met.

Under 4.340 of Eugene Code, minimum care requires an animal have access to water and not be confined in an area where air temperature is not suitable. To help investigate cases of animal neglect, the animal welfare officers and police officers are all equipped with digital thermometers.

More tips for pet care:

  • Leave pets at home when running errands. Leaving your animal in a parked car, even for just a few minutes, can easily cause heat stroke or brain damage. A car's interior temperature can increase in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. Dogs are especially vulnerable to heat stress because they do not sweat in the way that humans do; they release body heat by panting.
  • Keep pets inside during the heat of the day; do not leave them outside unattended.
  • Make sure pets have access to water bowls full of cool, fresh water.
  • When pets are outside, be sure there are shaded areas for them to rest in. It’s a good idea to invest in a misting hose or kiddie pool for a cool place for your pets to play. Make sure your pets are properly secured and when outside have collars, updated tags and are microchipped.
  • Limit or skip on exercise at the dog park during the heat of the day.
  • Always test the pavement or sand with your hand before stepping out (too hot to touch is too hot for your pet). Walk early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler, carry water and take frequent breaks in shady spots. If you suspect your pet’s paws have been burned, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Dogs should not ride in uncovered pickup truck beds.  The hot metal truck bed can burn your pet’s paw pads.  
  • Oregon's “Good Samaritan” law (dogs / kids in hot cars) states the following: 

    • Anyone – not just law enforcement – may enter a motor vehicle, “by force or otherwise,” to remove an unattended child or domestic animal without fear of criminal or civil liability, as long as certain requirements are met. To fulfill these requirements, a person must: 

      • Determine that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no reasonable method for the child or animal to exit without assistance; 
      • Have a reasonable belief that the animal or child is in imminent danger of suffering harm; 
      • Notify law enforcement or emergency services either before or soon after entering the vehicle; 
      • Use only the minimum force necessary to enter the vehicle; and 
      • Stay with the animal or child until law enforcement, emergency services, or the owner or operator of the vehicle arrives. 
    • It is best to always contact law enforcement before taking action.  
    • Many electric vehicles now have “dog modes” or may appear to be not running. These vehicles may seem to be off but can have a climate controlled inside with air conditioning on for the animal. 

Heatstroke symptoms can include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, vomiting and lack of coordination. If your animal is overcome by heat exhaustion, consult your veterinarian right away.

“The heat of summer is officially here and we want to ensure everyone’s pets are safe,” said Sarah Bouzad, Greenhill’s Community Engagement & Events Manager. “Be sure to take your pets on walks early in the morning and in the evening and leave them home while you run errands.”

The full text of Oregon's “Good Samaritan” law can be found under ORS 30.813.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
Related Content