Responses to a post on the Pronews 7 Facebook page lead to further questions about the existence of Texas laws protecting animals who are left sitting inside vehicles on hot days.
It was found that Texas Penal Code 42.09 does indeed give animals, both livestock and non-livestock, that protection and more. The law protects against all cruel and unusual treatment, including transportation and confinement.
Assistant Director of Amarillo Animal Control Shannon Barlow said people do call in if they see an animal sitting in the car. She pointed out that sometimes people simply overreact, but other times, the animal really is in danger.
"People just don't use common sense and they don't realize how quickly those temperatures can escalate," she said. "The temperatures can climb so exponentially inside that car that the animal can become gravely ill or even succumb to death."
The punishment for conviction of this crime is up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine.
Due to the extremely high temperatures in the Texas Panhandle, Barlow recommends people do not take their pets in the vehicle with them unless it's early morning or evening when the temperatures are lower.
"If you must carry your pet in your vehicle, crack the windows, get the inside temperature as cool as you can before you have to step out for five or 10 minutes. And I would emphasize do not be gone more than five or 10 minutes."
It is not a crime to leave a pet in a vehicle as long as the temperature inside the vehicle is reasonably cool, the windows are cracked and the pet is not left there for an extended period of time.
So, crack the windows and make it quick!
A hot dog is not a happy dog!
If you see an animal you feel is in need of help, call 9-1-1 and they will dispatch Animal Control.