Created: 07/25/2014 6:49 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
It didn’t look good. A police dog inside a police SUV with the window rolled down a few inches on a steaming hot July morning in Albuquerque. The vehicle was parked in front of a restaurant on West Central Avenue. It was registered to Laguna Pueblo. An Eyewitness News 4 viewer said the officer was inside the restaurant for about an hour. The dog was barking its head off as the temperature climbed.
It was 82 degrees in Albuquerque at 10 AM. After just a half an hour the temperature in that police car would have been over 114 degrees – except it wasn’t. Laguna police told us it was equipped with a K9 air conditioning system that includes ventilation from the air conditioner up front to the kennel compartment in the back. In addition, it had a “Hot –N- Pop” dog alarm system that tells you when your dog is too hot and even pops the door open for him.
City Animal Welfare Lt. Christopher Romero said without that kind of technology, a dog should never be left in a vehicle on a hot day.
“They become overheated, dehydrated, and eventually go into stress and it could even result in death. If the window is open part way, that’s not going to help very much – very, very little, if at all. The temperatures are still going to rise rapidly.”
Albuquerque Police Department K9 officers joins Animal Welfare officers to warn people that leaving your dog in a hot car is not only dangerous – it’s against the law. You could be charged with animal cruelty, punishable by fines and even jail time.
Our vigilant viewer said the officer came out after about an hour and drove away, with the dog appearing to be alert and active. Late in the day a Laguna officer told us it was about 69 degrees in the car the whole time.
K9 air conditioning systems are becoming more and more common in police departments across the country. In the summer of 2012, two police dogs died of heat stroke in Tucson, one died in a San Antonio police car, and one also died in Des Moines, Iowa.