Don’t leave children, pets unattended, police warn
With the arrival or summer and rising temperatures, the Waupaca Police Department reminds everyone about the dangers of leaving children and pets in unattended vehicles.
Officer Bret Rodenz says it is common knowledge that people should not leave their children in their vehicles, but the same goes for pets.
“On a 75 degree day, temperatures in your vehicle can rise up to 100 or 120 degrees within minutes, even with your vehicle windows cracked open. This means your pet can suffer organ damage or heat stroke in a fairly short period of time,” he said.
When it is hot outside, pets should be left at home, Rodenz said.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, every year hundreds of pets die of heat exhaustion because they are left in parked cars.
A Wisconsin State Statutes gives a civil liability exemption to someone who enters a vehicle to help a person or a domestic animal.
However, there are steps that must be followed to ensure that legal protection, Rodenz said.
Concerned citizens must be able to prove all of the following are true:
• A person or domestic animal was in the vehicle, and the citizen believed the person or animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless it is removed from the vehicle.
• The citizen determined the vehicle was locked and that forcible entry was necessary in order to remove or help the person or pet get out of the vehicle.
• The citizen dialed 911 or contacted law enforcement.
• The citizen remained with the person or pet until a law enforcement officer, emergency medical services provider, animal control officer or other first responder arrived.
• The citizen used no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle to remove the person or pet or allow them to exit.
• If the citizen left the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returned, the citizen placed a notice on the windshield that included all personal contact information, the reason for entering the vehicle and the location, if known, of the person or pet that was in the vehicle.
“To simplify this, the best thing you can do if you sense that a child or pet left unattended in a vehicle is in grave danger is to call 911,” Rodenz said. “Don’t hesitate. Don’t go in search of the car owner. Dial 911 and let authorities handle the situation.”
In most jurisdictions, an officer can be on the scene within a few minutes, he said.
“If you feel the person or domestic animal needs to be removed immediately, advise the 911 communications center of the immediate danger. You should double check all the doors are unlocked, and if you need to break a window, try to leave as little damage as possible.
“As police officers, we know that most people who leave their animal in the vehicle have done so with no criminal intent. The best thing we can do as parents and pet owners is to plan in advance.
“Don’t bring a pet in a vehicle when you are planning on leaving your vehicle unattended for any period of time,” Rodenz said.