January 28, 2022 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

WeHo Heat Alert For Pets

The City of West Hollywood reminds human caregivers of canine companions and feline friends that high-heat days can be extremely dangerous for four-legged family members.

Pets are particularly vulnerable to high-heat conditions. Pets can suffer major heat-related illnesses and can die when left unattended in parked vehicles. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can soar to 120 degrees in just minutes. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes — even with windows cracked open.

The City of West Hollywood urges pet parents not to leave their pets in parked vehicles, even for a moment. 

California Penal Code § 597.7 makes it illegal to leave a pet in dangerous or potentially dangerous conditions. Specifically, it is illegal to leave an animal in the car in any circumstance “that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.”

In 2016, the State of California approved AB 797. This state law protects citizens who break a car window to save a trapped animal from dying in a hot vehicle if there is no other way to rescue an animal locked inside. This is an extreme action of last resort; anyone who breaks a window must wait for authorities to arrive and it must be clear that the animal was in imminent danger to avoid civil and criminal responsibility. Calling the Sheriff’s Station is a best first-step.

Summer heat is also extremely hazardous for pet paws. Ground temperatures can be much hotter than the surrounding air and pavement and sidewalks absorb heat quickly. For example, when the air temperature reaches 77 degrees, asphalt temperature can reach 125 degrees; when the air temperature reaches 95 degrees, asphalt can reach 149 degrees.

A simple seven-second test to check whether pavement is too hot can help assess if conditions are too hot to take a furry friend out for a walk. Touch the pavement with the back of your hand for seven seconds. If the surface is too hot to hold for the full seven seconds, then it is also too hot for paws. Avoid concrete, brick, and asphalt during the heat of the day and, instead, walk when the ground is cooler, early in the morning or late in the evening.

The City of West Hollywood invites canine community members and their humans to sniff out a spot and romp around at the City’s two dog parks at West Hollywood Park, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard. A small dog park and large dog park are located on each side of the park’s basketball courts. Each area features expanses of open space with trees, small mounds, turf terraces, and water stations. In addition, the City operates the William S. Hart Park and Off-Leash Dog Park located at 8341 De Longpre Avenue, a shady spot off the Sunset Strip.

If you see a pet left in a parked car, immediately call the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station at (310) 855-8850.

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