Heat inside parked car can be fatal to your pets

TRAFFIC TALK

June 12, 2005|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

I'M CONSTANTLY appalled at how horribly we treat our furry friends. Dogs may be our best friends, but I wonder if we're theirs. All year 'round I see dogs hanging out of windows or sitting in driver's laps, even as the vehicle is hurtling down the road at 70 mph.

Dogs riding in the back of pickup trucks face even more danger - a careless swerve will send them to doggy heaven.

Pets belong in back seats and in made-for-pets restraining systems - for their safety and for yours. You don't want Rover to soar through the front windshield if you stop short.

And your airbag could be his death sentence should he be in the front seat or in your lap when it deploys.

Hot weather kills, too. In fact, every year pets - mostly dogs - needlessly suffer cruel deaths because their owners leave them in hot cars.

It's June now, so leave your pets at home where they safely belong.

Sgt. Shawn Urbas, Anne Arundel County police spokesman, noted that some people think it's all right to slightly open the windows for the animals. "It's really not," he said. "It can get hot pretty fast."

In fact, on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car is 90 degrees: hot but bearable.

The inside of a vehicle parked in the sun on the same day, however, can reach 160 degrees in less than 15 minutes. Animals (and babies and children, too) can suffer heatstroke in the time it takes to run into a store for a gallon of milk.

If you see a dog left alone in a vehicle, take down the vehicle's color, model, make and license plate number and have the owner paged inside the store if you think the animal isn't in too great distress. Or call Anne Arundel County police's nonemergency number, 410-222-8050.

But if the animal is unconscious or obviously in distress, call 911, immediately - his or her life may depend upon it.

If it's a kid in a hot car, don't fool around. Call 911 immediately. Be prepared to give the dispatcher important information, including where you and the car are located, the vehicle's color, model, make and license plate number.

Urbas said that although Maryland law allows leaving a child unattended in a vehicle as long as you can see the vehicle the entire time you're away from it, in this day and age, "the best practice is not to leave a child in a car."

"All it takes is a moment of someone standing beside a locked car - even if you're watching - for them to be able to jump in and zoom away with your child," he said.

Road work schedule

There's a variety of road work being completed on Governor Ritchie Highway (Route 2) in Severna Park and Glen Burnie.

Through July 8, expect nonrush, daytime lane closures in northbound lanes for pavement marking between Robinson Road and the Baltimore city line.

There will also be tree trimming operations on the highway between Church Street and Bell Grove Road that may result in nonrush, daytime lane closures.

In addition, there may be nonrush, daytime lane closures through the end of the month in northbound lanes in the vicinity of McKinsey Road for utility work.

On other roads, look for nonrush, daytime lane closures on the outer loop of Interstate 695 at the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Route 295) for camera installation through July 9. Also, expect possible nighttime lane closures on the outer loop between Interstate 97 and Ritchie Highway for maintenance work.

On Route 32 in both directions between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 198, be alert through the end of this month for construction-related lane closures during weeknights and weekends.

Also throughout the month, there will be nighttime lane closures for resurfacing on Route 100 westbound between Mountain Road (Route 177) and Route 10.

What's your traffic trauma? Contact Jody K. Vilschick at TrafficTalk@ comcast.net, send faxes to 410-715-2816 or mail letters to Traffic Talk, The Sun in Anne Arundel County, 60 West St., Suite 400, Annapolis 21401. Please include your full name and contact information or your comments will not be published or receive a response.

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