In warm weather, we receive complaints regarding animals that people have left in their cars while they run errands. Those pets can suffer heat stroke, resulting in irreversible brain damage or death in as little as fifteen minutes!

On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to temperatures between 110 and 120 degrees. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than ten minutes. Remember, hot cars are a death trap for your pet!

If you find a pet in a hot car, please try to locate the owner. If owner cannot be located, call animal control at 423-798-1777, or the local police department or sheriff’s office.

Be sure you know the law about helping a child or animal in distress in a hot car. Tennessee law (Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-34-209) allows persons to break into cars to save children or animals. This law states that a person shall be immune from civil liability for any damage resulting from the forcible entry of a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a minor or an animal from the vehicle providing that person:

(1) Determines the vehicle is locked or there is otherwise no reasonable method for the minor or animal to exit the vehicle;

(2) Has a good faith belief that forcible entry into the vehicle is necessary because the minor or animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm if not immediately removed from the vehicle and, based upon the circumstances known to the person at the time, the belief is a reasonable one;

(3) Has contacted either the local law enforcement agency, the fire department, or a 911 operator prior to forcibly entering the vehicle;

(4) Places a notice on the vehicle’s windshield with the person’s contact information, the reason the entry was made, the location of the minor or animal, and the fact that the authorities have been notified;

(5) Remains with the minor or animal in a safe location, out of the elements but reasonably close to the vehicle, until law enforcement, fire, or another emergency responder arrives; and

(6) Used no more force to enter the vehicle and remove the child or animal from the vehicle than was necessary under the circumstances.

Hot weather is upon us and all of us at the Greeneville Greene County Humane Society would like to offer everyone some hot weather tips to help your pets stay cool.

If you have an outdoor pet, not only must it have access to shelter at all times, but it must have access to fresh water at all times. Remember, the hot sun can evaporate water very quickly. In this heat, your pet would even appreciate a few ice cubes thrown into its water bowl too! You will want to make sure that your pet’s bowl is stationary so it can’t be knocked over.

We highly discourage chaining or tethering your dog, but if you do, you must ensure that your dog’s leash does not get tangled up so that it is unable to reach its water bowl or shade. Dogs can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads; therefore it is difficult for them to cool themselves down. Dog’s can die in just a couple of short hours if left in the sun without water or shade.

Signs that your pet is having a heat stroke are heavy panting and difficulty breathing. Your pet will often drool and vomit as its body temperature rises to over 104 degrees. It will become progressively unsteady and eventually collapse and become comatose before death occurs. If your pet shows signs of heat stroke, the best way to help it is to get it cooled down.

Provide water to drink, and if possible spray the pet with a garden hose or immerse him or her in a tub of cool (but not iced) water for up to two minutes in order to lower the body temperature gradually. You can also place your pet in front of an electric fan. Applying cool, wet towels to the groin area, stomach, chest, and paws can also help. Be careful not to use ice or cold water, and don’t overcool the animal. It’s also important that you contact your veterinarian as soon as possible and follow any advice he may offer.

We hope this story brings more awareness to a serious problem and could save a pet’s life!

In closing, did you know your membership helps us to keep the shelter going? Send in your membership today!

As a non-profit organization which does not receive tax dollars, we can only continue our mission with donations and memberships from caring people like you. All donations are tax deductible as the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society is a 501©(3) non-profit organization.

You can make your membership donation by mailing it to the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society at P.O. Box 792, Greeneville, TN. 37744 or online at or you can come to the Humane Society’s Adoption Center at 950 Hal Henard Rd, or by phone at (423)639-4771 Tuesday through Saturday noon to 3 p.m.

We are blessed to have supporters like you who share our passion for improving the lives of homeless animals. Thank you for your caring support!

Janet Medcalf is a former president of the Greeneville-Greene County Humane Society and is currently manager of the Greeneville-Greene County Animal Shelter.

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