The Humane Society of the United States indicates outside temperatures of 80 degrees can heat up to 99 degrees inside a car within 10 minutes. It also indicated that rolling down windows has little effect.
BY STEVEN COOK
NISKAYUNA — Authorities say an incident outside the Niskayuna Co-op is a reminder to dog owners not to leave their pets in cars in the summer weather.
Around 10:30 a.m. July 27 in the parking lot across from the co-op, bystanders spotted a small dog locked in a van when outside air temperatures ranged up to 80 degrees.
Police said they followed up with the owner a short time later and determined the dog was OK.
The officer also spoke with the owner about the dangers of leaving animals in cars, Niskayuna Police Deputy Chief Michael Stevens said.
But the incident caused a stir and a small crowd to gather as they monitored the dog and waited either for police to arrive or the owner to return.
They also checked nearby businesses and had announcements made, said one of the bystanders, Ann Connolly of Clifton Park.
She said the windows were up and she believed the dog was in distress. The vehicle owner came out before police arrived and left with the dog, she said.
She said bystanders were further concerned because the woman wouldn’t let them check on the dog.
Police records indicate the first call came in at 10:31 a.m. and an officer arrived at 10:55, but the vehicle and crowd were gone by then, Stevens said. Unrelated calls that morning prevented a quicker response, Stevens said.
The officer, however, used the license plate number provided to dispatchers and went to the owner’s home. There, he met with the owner and viewed and interacted with the dog. He was satisfied it was the dog that had been in the van and that it was fine, Stevens said. Stevens commended the officer, Jordan Kochan, for following up as he did.
Stevens did not identify the dog owner.
According to the National Weather Service, air temperatures at nearby Albany International Airport were 76 degrees at 10 a.m. Monday and 80 degrees at 11 a.m.
The Humane Society of the United States indicates outside temperatures of 80 degrees can heat the inside of a car to 99 degrees within 10 minutes. It also indicated that rolling down windows has little effect.
The society recommends the if a dog is spotted in a closed vehicle, the witness should take down the car’s information, check nearby businesses for the vehicle owner and call the local non-emergency number for police and wait by the car for officers to arrive. All three of those steps were done Monday.
Also, two bills are expected to be proposed in January, if not sooner, in the state Legislature, to allow individuals to break vehicle windows if they have a good-faith belief that an animal or child is in distress. The bill, if passed, would protect those individuals from criminal or civil liability.
Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, is a co-sponsor on both bills.