To the Editor:

Leaving pets in locked cars is never safe. During the summer months it can be uncomfortable — even dangerous — for pets to be left inside the car.

Every year, dogs suffer and die when their owners make the mistake of leaving them in a parked car — even "for just a minute" —when they run an errand. Parked cars are deathtraps for dogs. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Rolling down the windows has shown to have little effect on the temperature inside of the car.

If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, take down the car's make, model, color, and license plate number.

Call the local police @ 911. Keep a close eye on the dog and don't leave the scene until the situation has been resolved by the authorities.

While waiting for the police to arrive and  if the dog's life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness, and takes steps to remove the suffering animal from the car. Get her or him out of the heat, preferably in an air-conditioned vehicle or building, and give the animal cool water while waiting for the police to arrive.

Animals can sustain brain and organ damage or even die from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. Beating the heat is extra tough for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.

Protecting animals from unnecessary harm is a problem we can all agree to prevent. If you see a dog locked in a vehicle, call for the police. Help keep dogs cool and safe this and every summer.

Laura Kessler