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Watch: Police rescue dog from hot car, owner cited for animal neglect

Police said when officers arrived the vehicle was locked and the dog had allegedly been inside the car for over 20 minutes.
Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 23, 2023

Brighton police recently rescued a dog trapped in a hot caroutside a department store in Colorado. The owner was issued a summons for animal neglect. 

The Brighton Police Department, just outside of Denver, said when officers arrived the car was locked. Police can be seen in body cam video shattering a widow on the vehicle. 

The dog had allegedly been inside the car for more than 20 minutes. 

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An officer was able to unlocked the car doors after shattering the window. 

It was 84 degrees Fahrenheit outside at the time, but the temperature inside the car registered at almost 30 degrees hotter according to a device officers used to measure the vehicle's internal temperature. 

Colorado Police

The dog's owner, who has not been identified, was issued a summons to appear in court. 

According to police, the owner admitted they understood why the window was broken and thanked officers for the "teaching moment." 

"How long is it OK to leave your pet in a car during the summer months? The answer is zero minutes. Yep, that’s right. Even one minute is 60 seconds too long," the police department said. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that if the outside temperature is 95 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes for temperatures inside a car to reach 114 degrees. After one hour, temperatures would reach the 138-degree mark. 

The American Kennel Club says a parked vehicle with a slightly opened window heats up at nearly the same rate as a vehicle with windows rolled up completely. 

In 2017, a Colorado state law labeled the Good Samaritan bill sailed through the state legislature, becoming official in August of that year. 

According to the legislation, any person who breaks into a vehicle to rescue an at-risk person or animal, as prescribed by the law’s parameters, won’t be subject to any penalties. Before the law, people risked charges of criminal mischief, criminal trespass or criminal tampering if they broke a car window to help people or animals escape the heat. 

That summer, there were multiple instances involving dogs left in hot cars. 

In the years since, authorities have continued to respond to similar incidents. 

In August 2019, a dog in Colorado died after its owners left it in a car and went out to eat. 

Despite parking in the shade, putting the windows halfway down and leaving water in a bowl, the dog was unresponsive when they returned to the car. The high temperature on that day was 97 degrees Fahrenheit.

The couple was served a summons for animal cruelty.

That same month, a dog was rescued from a 117-degreecar parked in the parking lot of a department store. The dog's owner was arrested after a brief pursuit in the parking lot. The dog was taken to a veterinarian, later making a full recovery. 

The dog was later adopted out to new owners. 

Another dog in Colorado died in early July after its owner left it inside a vehicle for several hours while parked at a golf course. Police said a bystander saw the dog in distress and broke a window to attempt to rescue the dog. But, by that point, it was too late. 

The owner was issued a summons for animal cruelty.

This story was originally published by Stephanie Butzer atScripps News Denver