Multnomah County Animal Services reminds people it is legal to break windows to free pets from hot cars
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the heat wave continues to bake the Rose City and surrounding areas, local animal services are doing their best to keep up with calls for pets in distress.
Multnomah County Animal Services said it has already responded to dozens of calls about dogs in cars in the dangerous heat. They remind the public that state law allows anyone who sees a dog in danger in a hot car to break a window to get them out.
“It would be in exigent circumstances, what I would do if I were them is I would probably film it. That way I have proof it was exigent circumstances,” said Jeanette Farrell, from Multnomah County Animal Services.
Farrell also suggests people call law enforcement when or if they need to break a window to free a pet.
“Law enforcement would need to come to that location to secure the property and site. So, there is a process if you are going to enter someone’s vehicle if you are going to take out an animal,” she said.
Farrell said once animals start to deteriorate in a car, they’ll go to the lowest part of the car, behind the passenger’s seat or the driver’s seat on the floor because heat rises and that will be the coolest spot.
She said you can also tell how a dog is doing by the color of its tongue. It can turn purple if they are in distress. Drooling can also be an indication they’re hot and not feeling well.
“The 20-plus calls came in through our client services phone line. In addition, we received more calls through our emergency dispatch line and some of those calls we did diver to Portland police. We do know that Portland police was also calling us asking us how do they work a dog in hot car call, so it was pretty busy,” Farrell said.
She also said the calls were pouring in Friday, before temperatures climbed past 100 degrees.
“Friday the temperatures weren’t even that high yet, Friday we received over 15,” she said.
With Monday predicted to be another day over 100 degrees, Farrell hopes people will keep their pets out of their hot cars.
“If you are living out of your vehicle, the county does, Multnomah County does have cooling centers, please utilize those centers for yourself as well as your animals, just please, please stay out of the heat,” she said.
The cooling shelter at the Oregon Convention Center will remain open through Monday and it is allowing people to bring their pets.
Raelynn Farnsworth, interim director of Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital said it is best to walk pets in the early morning and evening hours when the temperature is hot during the day. She also said time outside should be minimal otherwise. Hot pavement can also be dangerous for pets’ paws.
“If it’s too hot to walk barefoot, it’s too hot for your pet’s feet,” Farnsworth said in a press release.
She said in addition to keeping pets out of hot cars, they should also not be tethered outside without shade or water.