Keeping animals safe
Rodney Tingen was working at his shop on West Spring Street last week when he noticed a pair of dogs tethered to a tire on hot asphalt beneath the sweltering sun.
The mercury hit more than 90 degrees that afternoon.
“There was no dog houses, no water — nothing,” he said. “One of them kept falling, and he finally fell down and couldn’t get back up.”
Tingen immediately called Vance County Animal Control. By the time they arrived, one of the dogs was dead.
The pet owner, 23-year-old Tristen Daly, was arrested the same day and charged with two felony counts of animal cruelty.
Animal control director Frankie Nobles said this was the first reported case of animal cruelty that resulted in death this year.
“It only happens here occasionally,” he said.
Tingen, who owns many animals of his own, said he horrified by the way the dogs were treated.
“My animals are like my young’uns,” Tingen said. “They come before I do. They eat like I eat. I eat three meals a day and so do they.”
Nobles said pet owners should be aware of how quickly temperatures can rise when animals are sitting in direct sunlight.
“People need to take the necessary precautions,” he said. “Animals should have fresh clean water available all the time, and they should have access to shade all the time.”
He said the two dogs on Spring Street had no shade or water
When a local veterinarian took the deceased animal’s internal temperature, the thermometer recorded 109.5 degrees.
Under North Carolina general statues, animal cruelty is illegal and punishable by law.
The statue prohibits any person from maliciously confining a dog using a chain or wire “grossly in excess of the size necessary to restrain the dog safely.”
It is also illegal to intentionally deprive an animal of necessary sustenance, like food or water.
Nobles said anyone who observes animal cruelty, should contact animal control at (252) 492-3136.
“You can always call animal control,” he said. “That is what we are here for.”
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Keep pets safe in the heat
Though Labor Day heralds the unofficial end of summer, temperatures in the Tri-County can still climb into the 90s for some time. Heat can be dangerous for companion animals, who don’t deal with high temperatures the same way humans do. The Humane Society of the United States has some tips to keep them cool and safe.
• Never leave pets in a parked car. On warm days, the temperature inside a vehicle can rise surprisingly rapidly. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within just 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, it can get up to 120 degrees.
• Watch the humidity. Because dogs pant to cool themselves by evaporating moisture in the lungs, humid days can mean more difficulty for the dog to cool itself. A dog’s temperature should never be allowed to be more than 104 degrees.
• Limit exercise on hot days. On the hottest days, limit exercise to the early morning or evening hours. As the asphalt can get very hot and burn pets’ paws, walk dogs on the grass if possible. Bring water to prevent dehydration.
• Don’t rely on a fan. Pets respond differently to heat than humans do; dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.
• Provide ample shade and water. Any time a pet is outside, he or she should have protection from the sun and plenty of cold, fresh water. In a heat wave, add ice if possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they allow for air flow; doghouses, by contrast, trap heat.
• Watch for signs of heatstroke. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, excessive thirst, lethargy, fever, dizziness, lack of coordination, profuse salivation, vomiting, a deep red or purple tongue, seizure and unconsciousness. Animals are most at risk for heat stroke if they are very young, very old, overweight, not conditioned to prolonged exercise, or have heart or respiratory diseases. Certain breeds of dogs and cats are also more at risk. To treat heatstroke, move the pet into the shade or an air-conditioned area. Apply ice packs or cold towels to the animal’s head, neck and chest or run cool — but not cold — water over the pet’s body. Give the animal small amounts of cool water or ice cubes, and take him or her directly to a veterinarian.