Ottumwa Dog Fatalities: When Leaving Pets in Vehicles Is Deadly

Jul 13, 2017

The deaths of three dogs left in a car on a hot day in Ottumwa last weekend is still under investigation by local police. They were in town for an American Kennel Club show and were reportedly left in the car by a handler hired by their owner.

On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a car climb to 99-degrees within 10 minutes.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Scott Wilson, an animal welfare expert with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, who says it’s fairly common for people to lock their dogs in overheated cars.

“During the summer we respond to, on average, several calls a week of dogs being left in cars by people who go to the grocery store and think they’re only going to be gone for a couple of minutes," says Wilson. 

He adds that on an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a car climb to 99-degrees within 10 minutes.

"Within 30 minutes it’s up to 114-degrees, and this just gets progressively worse," he says.

If you spot an animal you suspect has been locked in a hot car for too long, Wilson says it's illegal in Iowa to bust someone’s car window yourself, but you can call the police, take down the car’s information, check nearby places for the owner, and wait with the animal until help arrives.

Also featured in this show:

Donna Hoffman of the University of Northern Iowa talks about Sen. Grassley and the Senate judiciary committee’s letter to Donald Trump Jr. requesting that he testify before the committee; AP correspondent Ryan Foley discusses why Iowa prison officials have dropped all sanctions imposed on an Iowa inmate for his role in an alleged 2009 gang rape that he says never happened; Jeff Reinitz recalls the abduction and deaths of two eastern Iowa girls five years ago that remains unsolved; and Bob Hartzler of Iowa State University talks about the issues surrounding dicamba drift.