Pooch left in a car prompts an animal-cruelty ticket | ParkRecord.com

Pooch left in a car prompts an animal-cruelty ticket

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Summit County Animal Control officers wrote a Park City man an animal-cruelty ticket after, the authorities said, he left a dog in a car on Main Street Saturday with the windows up.

Animal Control said Howard Sill, 41, faces a misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. Bob Bates, the Animal Control director, is unsure whether Sill owns the husky. The dog’s age and gender were not immediately available.

Sill’s phone number is nonpublished.

The Park City Police Department said the car, a grey Subaru Outback, was parked in front of a nightclub on the 400 block of Main Street. A nightclub worker called the police at 8:47 p.m. to report the dog had been in the car for three hours and it appeared ill. Phil Kirk, a Police Department captain, said a few other people from nearby businesses also called to report the dog was locked in the car.

A police officer and an officer from Animal Control investigated. Kirk said the police officer arrived within a minute of the department receiving the report. The Animal Control officer tapped on the windows, but the dog did not respond. The husky was panting extremely hard when the officers approached, Animal Control said.

Sill arrived as the officers were preparing to enter the vehicle to rescue the dog, Animal Control said. The dog recovered.

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"He was not very happy with the circumstances. He didn’t feel it was that big of a problem," Kirk said about Sill’s response, describing that Sill told the police and Animal Control they were "overreacting."

Animal Control warns against leaving dogs inside cars, saying they can suffer from heatstroke. The condition can be fatal. Shellie Keetch, an Animal Control officer, said her department receives reports of dogs left in cars daily, with some of the calls coming from Kimball Junction.

"A hot as it’s been, the cars get hot, even with the windows down," she said.

Keetch said people sometimes bring their dog on trips to stores and elsewhere. Once they arrive, they leave the dogs in the car, she said. Many, however, have left the scene by the time an Animal Control officer arrives, she said.

"They probably shouldn’t take the dogs in the vehicle if they’re going to get out and go shopping," she said.

The American Kennel Club says symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke include:

Excessive panting

Disorientation

Pale or gray gums, caused by a lack of oxygen

The Kennel Club says a dog suffering from heatstroke should be submerged in cool water or ice packs should be placed on its neck. Afterward, the dog should be taken to a veterinarian, the Kennel Club says.

A Park City veterinarian, who was not aware of the case until Tuesday morning, said dog owners should be cautious when taking their pets in cars in the summer. Angela West, who is a veterinarian at the Park City Animal Clinic, suggests people not leave dogs in a car if the weather is warmer than 80 degrees. Even if the windows are cracked, the temperature inside a car can top 100 degrees, she said.

"Their body temperature just begins to rise," West said.

She said a dog’s body temperature can reach a dangerous level within 30 minutes in a car with the windows up. West said dog owners should leave their dog in a doggy-play-day spot or leashed outside instead of inside a car.

West said she treats several dogs that had been left in cars each year.

"It’s just a death sentence, really," she said.

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