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For Immediate Release: 06/05/06

South Bay dog’s death underscores dangers of leaving animals in hot cars

National initiative gives residents tools to avoid further tragedies

Sacramento, CA — The Animal Protection Institute (API), a national non-profit animal welfare group, today asked Bay area residents to join its summer initiative, “My Dog is Cool”, and help save dogs from dying in hot cars. Educational information, lifesaving tips, and specifics on what people can do to help animals in hot cars can be found on the web site www.MyDogIsCool.com.

API’s request to the Bay area community is spurred by the recent death of “Chase”, a black lab mix, who died of heat stroke after being left in a hot car while his caretaker gambled at a San Bruno casino. The caretaker turned himself in to authorities and is now facing animal cruelty charges.

“As the summer heats up, it’s important once again that people be made aware of the dangers of leaving companion and service animals inside hot cars,” says API’s Chief Executive Officer Michelle Thew. “People mean well by taking their dog along with them while they work, shop, or run errands, but warm weather can literally turn a comfortable car into a death trap for dogs.”

Every year, countless dogs die after being locked inside cars while their guardians leave them, often for “just a few minutes.” These deaths are tragedies that occur with alarming frequency, yet are completely preventable.

A Stanford University test found that, even if it’s only 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature can rocket to 116 degrees within an hour. Hundreds of beloved canine companions are unintentionally killed or injured each year by being left in hot cars, even with windows cracked and only for a short time.

In most cities and states, laws don’t exist to explicitly prohibit an animal from being kept in a hot car. API is also working through legislative avenues to address this issue directly including introducing legislation in the state of California that would make it unlawful to leave a companion animal unattended in a motor vehicle under conditions that could endanger the animal’s health. This bill has passed the California Senate and has broad base legislative support.

The Animal Protection Institute is a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation and public education. API’s national My Dog Is Cool initiative is backed by Nissan car company and Better World Club, both companies with track records of caring for animals who accompany their drivers. Nissan and Better World Club are working with API to spread the message about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars and encourage other car manufacturers and traveler’s services companies to join the My Dog Is Cool initiative.

Hi-res images are available for download from www.MyDogIsCool.com or by emailing press@api4animals.org.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, 916-447-3085 x205

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