Animal Control Officers Asking for Help Enforcing New Ordinance

By Camaron Abundes   
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- Armed with measuring tape, an infrared temperature gauge and a camera Midland Animal Control officers are enforcing a new ordinance.

"It's amazing how hot it can get and how fast it can get that hot," Midland Animal Control Director, Paul O'Neill said. "The animal is in danger and it basically could be considered animal cruelty."

Last year the Midland City Council required pet owners to roll their car windows down by at least four inches when leaving a pet inside a car between April 1st and October 1st each year.

"We don't really have the man power to just go out and drive around and look for violators." O'Neill said Animal Control relies on tips from residents in order to catch violators.

Newswest Nine left our SUV in the parking lot of Animal Control for thirty minutes. All the windows remained rolled up and the temperatures went from 84 degrees outside to 103 degrees inside.

"If it's rolled down it needs to be between four to six inches. Something to where [the dog] can stick it's head out of the window," Marcus Ybarra, an officer with Midland Police Departments Animal Control, said.

A few weeks ago, O'Neill says the team had a serious call. They found a dog trapped inside a car with only the windows cracked about an inch on a 103 degree day.

"It was about 139 degrees inside the vehicle," O'Neill said. "We did have to break one of the windows and we took it to a vet right after that."

The dog survived but its a lesson to other pet owners.

"That would be an absolutely horrifying way for an animal to die." O'Neill said dogs can't sweat and panting won't cool them down enough if the temperature rises too high.

Call 685-7420 to report an animal locked inside a car.