Two Dogs, Parakeet Rescued from Stifling Hot Car During Heat Wave
NEW BEDFORD — Two dogs and a pet bird were rescued from a scorching-hot car inside the Zeiterion Parking Garage Sunday after authorities were alerted by a concerned passerby.
New Bedford Police and an Animal Control unit responded to the second floor of the 684 Purchase Street parking garage at approximately 7:00 p.m. to a report of two dogs and a parakeet-typed bird locked inside a sweltering hot Subaru Forester. With concern for the health of the three animals, in-particular a small black Labrador located in the front seat of the car, authorities determined it was necessary to remove the pets from the vehicle.
Prior to removing the three pets, Animal Control Director Manny Maciel documented the internal temperature of the car, taking multiple reads of the front and back seats with a handheld thermostat. With all four windows being partially cracked open, both the front and back areas of the car had a temperature of 99-degrees Fahrenheit.
Once removed, the animals were placed into air-conditioned vehicles and brought back to the Animal Control Office. The parakeet and other small white dog remain in the custody of Animal Control and are believed to be in good condition. The black Lab was transported to Mass-RI Veterinary ER in Swansea to treat a high body temperature believed to be caused by prolonged exposure to heat inside the car.
New Bedford Police Officer Jared Lizzotte, working as the Community Police Officer for the downtown area, says the owner of the vehicle faces a minimum $150 fine for violating Section 174F of Massachusetts General Law, which states, “A person shall not confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold.”
With consideration to the extreme heat wave that’s gripped more than half the nation and caused numerous heat advisories throughout the area, the owner could also be in violation of Section 174E of Massachusetts General Law.
Section 174E, subsection (d) states, “A person shall not leave a dog outside when a weather advisory, warning or watch is issued by a local, state or federal authority or when outside environmental conditions including, but not limited to, extreme heat, cold, wind, rain, snow or hail pose an adverse risk to the health or safety of the dog based on the dog's breed, age or physical condition, unless the tethering is for not more than 15 minutes.”
During the time of the early-evening response, the National Weather Service reported an air temperature of 93-degrees Fahrenheit and a heat index of 105-degrees in New Bedford.
The car owner, whose identity is being withheld at this time, also potentially faces animal cruelty charges pending the health of the black Lab taken to the veterinary hospital.