Never leave a dog in a hot car, but don't break a window if you see one either

You can still help, but let law enforcement handle the situation.

No matter how quickly you think you'll get in and out of a store or restaurant, never leave your dog in a hot car.

It's a message we hear every year, and yet, people still do it. Just yesterday, one of GoMN's producers saw a dog left in a car outside of Bachman's. The owner wasn't gone long so we won't shame them with a photo, but still – temperatures are pretty warm this weekend.

And it doesn't take long for the inside of a car to heat up on a hot day. If it's 72 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees within an hour, the Humane Society says. If it's 80 degrees or more, it could take less than 10 minutes to reach 99 degrees inside the car.

Video experiments like this show just how scorching it gets in a short amount of time. And if you're thinking it's fine as long as you roll down the windows a bit – you're wrong. That's been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car, Red Rover explains.

So what should you do if you see a dog in a car and the owner is no where in sight? A lot of people on Facebook suggest breaking a window. I don't know about you, but the idea of smashing someone's vehicle makes me nervous and would likely be my last resort.

And it turns out taking the law into your own hands isn't really the best answer, anyway.

Edina police say people who break into a vehicle could face criminal charges and civil liability – even if you're doing it to save Fido's life. Not to mention, the driver/pet owner probably isn't going to be thankful when they find out what you did, and it could lead to a potentially dangerous confrontation.

You can still help, but let law enforcement handle the situation.

The department says this is what you should do:

  • Call 911 to report the situation. Make sure to be able to describe the vehicle, license plate number and the type of dog, if possible (some breeds overheat more quickly than others).
  • Be able to describe the location of the vehicle: address, area of the lot where it is parked, by what business. Remember, officers will need to find it quickly.
  • Report how long the animal has been in the vehicle, if known. For example, was it in the car when the caller first went into the store and is still there when that person came back?
  • DO NOT break into the vehicle.
  • It is not necessary, but the caller may remain on scene to better direct emergency responders to the correct vehicle.

Dog owners – we know you love your pet like family and probably wanna take them with you everywhere. But it's just not safe to bring dogs on errands this time of year.

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