GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Kids and pets in hot cars: Same old story… or not?

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(WFRV) – It’s not often we witness scenes like the parking lot dog rescue in Green Bay last summer. A bystander got cell phone video of a Green Bay police officer rescuing a dog trapped in a hot car. More often, the scene is much grimmer. Police aren’t notified in time or it doesn’t get reported… Or even noticed until it’s too late.

Pets aren’t the only ones being left in hot cars.

“For kids, you’re talking 10-15 minutes before it can be fatal,” said Lt. Steve Mahoney, Community Police Division of the Green Bay Police Department.

With temperatures in 90s for days on end, Green Bay police are sending out a familiar warning.

“Do not leave your pets, do not leave your children in the car just to run into a store,” Mahoney said.

But despite repeated warnings, police say they see this preventable tragedy happen time and time again.

“As much as we talk about it, it’s repeated,” said Mahoney. “People think `Oh, it’s only a couple minutes.’ or ‘That doesn’t apply to me.'”

Green Bay Police Lt Steve Mahoney says with temperatures in the 90s outside, the inside of your car soars to sweltering 110 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

“It’s amazing how hot how fast your car can get where you don’t realize it. Just sit in your car for five minutes. See how uncomfortable it is for those five minutes,” Mahoney suggested.

So, I did.

Before the first two minutes had passed, it was already getting hard to breathe and that only got worse. Sweating, light-headed, and feeling almost panicky, I lasted about seven and a half minutes before I opened the door, pointing out that is something our children and pets cannot do. This is why, each year, dozens of children and many more pets die trapped in a hot parked car.

Think you’d never do something like that? Think again.

Mahoney says he sees it all the time. “People think, ‘Oh, I’m just running into the grocery store, it’ll take me two minutes.’ Next thing you know it’s 10-15 min. You lose track of time.”

If you see a child or a pet alone in a hot car and you’re concerned, police say the first thing you should do is call 911, but you don’t need to wait for help to arrive. If the situation looks critical, Mahoney says citizens are within their legal rights to break a car window if I child or pet is in need of rescue.

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