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Officer Warns New Canaan To Keep Dogs Out of Cars

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Three to four times a week: That's how often Mary Ann Kleinschmitt expects to warn New Canaan residents this summer who make the mistake of leaving their dogs in cars on exceedingly hot days.

New Canaan’s animal control officer knows some people don’t understand how dangerous it is to take pets along on quick trips to buy groceries or to pick up laundry. “You think you’ll be there for five minutes and then something holds you up,” said Kleinschmitt.

And when that happens, temperatures inside a car can become deadly for dogs. Even with a window slightly cracked, Kleinschmitt says it’s just not smart to leave a dog in a car. If the temperature is 84 degrees outside, it can get up to about 95 degrees in a parked car with the windows up.

“If there’s no shade or water, they can suffer heat stroke,” she said.

Concerns about animal safety are in focus this week after New Canaan Police charged resident George R. Lovas on Monday with three counts of cruelty to animals after his dogs were found in distress in his car parked on Elm Street. The animals may have been inside the Lexus SUV for about 45 minutes before an officer unlocked the doors to free them, police said.

Many dog owners take their pets with them on quick trips because they love them, Kleinschmitt says. But the best way to care for animals, she said, is to leave them at home.

“The important thing that people should realize is how fast the temperature can go up,” Kleinschmitt said. “It’s not a safe situation for the dog. If you can’t bring the dog in the store, you should not leave him in the car. Leave the dog at home.”

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