BOSTON (CBS) — Amid the summer heat and the coronavirus pandemic, the Animal Rescue League is reminding pet owners that animals do not belong in cars. Leaving a dog in a hot car is illegal, punishable by a fine.

Coronavirus safety regulations have lengthened the trip of any quick errand, putting animals waiting in the car at even more of a risk, the ARL said.

“It’s about 90 [degrees] right now, inside the car it can get up to anywhere between 118-140 degrees and that’s with windows open and air conditioning on,” said Sgt. Paul Parlon.
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If you are walking by and see a distressed animal in a car, call 911 or animal control. If the dog looks like they are in imminent danger, try to contact the owner any way you can. As a last-ditch effort, Parlon said to get the dog out of the car and stay with it.

“It’s best to, especially in this kind of weather, to leave pets at home, keep them inside the house, out of the elements as much as possible. If they are animals that need to be outside, keep them out for short periods of time,” said Parlon.

Make sure animals have access to cold water and shade while outside.

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Leaving an animal in the car for even a short period of time could cause heatstroke and “could be deadly,” according to the ARL.

Signs of heatstroke include extreme thirst, panting, drowsiness, unconsciousness, marks of attempted escape on windows.

“It happens extremely quick. It can happen within a 10 minute, 15 minute period of time. And again, nobody in the stores these days as quick as that,” Parlon said.

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For more pet safety tips, visit the ARL’s website.