San Bernardino County, CA, August 5, 2013 — With several weeks of summer left, the San Bernardino County Animal Cruelty Task Force reminds the public of the dangers of leaving dogs in cars. Even at cooler altitudes like the Big Bear Valley, conditions inside a vehicle can quickly become life-threatening. For example, when it is 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside a vehicle — even with the windows opened slightly — can surpass 100 degrees within 10 minutes. After approximately 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees.

Since dogs can only regulate their body temperature by panting and sweating through their paw pads, a small enclosed space like a car doesn’t provide enough fresh air for their bodies to remain at a safe level. Animals can sustain brain damage or even die in as little as fifteen minutes, so Task Force Coordinator Claudia Swing urges anyone seeing a distressed animal in a parked car to either find the driver or, if that’s not possible, to contact law enforcement.