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8/21/2014 8:06:00 AM
New city ordinance seeks to protect dogs left in cars on hot days
File photo
A new city ordinance gives law enforcement greater authority to protect animals left in hot cars.

File photo
A new city ordinance gives law enforcement greater authority to protect animals left in hot cars.
Ian Dunn

The Leavenworth City Council has passed a new ordinance designed to penalize those who leave their dogs in the car for extended periods of time on a hot day. At the Aug. 12 Leavenworth City Council meeting, Ordinance 1479 was amended, in regards to protection of animals.

The local ordinance was made necessary because recently Chelan County officials decided this matter would no longer be enforced in the city of Leavenworth. The council discussed the issue at the July 22 meeting, prompting Development Services Manager Nathan Pate to make some changes to the proposed ordinance.

"The council said, make it easier to use and side on the protection of the animal. What I've done is hopefully address the issues from last time," Pate said. "There are also some complications to make sure there is no overlap and make sure it is very clear for an enforcement officer to understand and use."

This is a parking citation, Pate said. There are other rules in place that protect animals that might be suffering or at risk of dying.

"This to take care of dogs that appear to be hot. The officer being able to address the folks around the car and the car owner, saying we have temps and duration time periods, should not have an animal in there, unintended," Pate said.

The ordinance establishes some guidelines for law enforcement. When the temperature is up to 70, a dog should not be left in the car longer than 30 minutes. When it is between 70-80 degrees, dogs should not be left in the car longer than 20 minutes. From 85-90, the dog should be left no longer than 10 minutes. At 95 degrees, a dog should not be left in the car for any amount of time.

Leaving a dog in a car long enough to cause harm is actually a crime. Pate said a distressed dog is very easy to recognize by excessive panting, rapid breathing, drooling, difficulty standing, shivering, trembling and other factors.

"You'll see it in the animal. We've listed the signs of hyperthermia and stroke scenarios. They will be collapsed, not moving," Pate said. "It is pretty evident. It is up to the officer to make that call (to rescue the dog)."

Mayor Cheri Kelley Farivar said the Sheriff's Office could issue citations, and also the Pacific Patrol. In terms of monitoring the vehicles, Leavenworth City Administrator Joel Walinski said Pacific Patrol uses photographs.

"They use a time dated photograph of the vehicle, showing the license plate with a time and date stamp and probably showing the dog in the car," Walinski said. "Then come back in 20-30 minutes, take another photograph that is date stamped. Then issue a citation. I would imagine that is how the Sheriff's Office would do it."

Ian Dunn can be reached at 548-5286 or editor@leavenworthecho.com.

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