By Dillon Thomas
DENVER (CBS4)– With temperatures surpassing 90 degrees Friday, and an even hotter Saturday in the forecast, several agencies teamed up to warn drivers about the dangers of hot cars.
In Colorado, it is illegal to leave a child unattended in a vehicle. Come August, the state plans to implement a law which would allow bystanders to break a vehicle window if a person, dog or cat were found to be in danger inside.
“It is real dangerous, in the summer months especially,” said Sgt. Josh Rolfe, with Denver’s Animal Protection unit. “Even if you go inside, a quick run to the bank or to the store, and you are inside for 10 or 15 minutes, the temperature can rise by 20 degrees in that time.”
Rolfe said the City of Denver had already received nearly 200 reports of animals left inside of hot cars in 2017, most of which occurred before June.
Under the new law, those concerned for the health of a life inside a hot car can take steps to break the window. The law requires several steps before breaking a window, including attempting to find the owner first. Those concerned also have to call emergency response teams, prior to taking action.
With current state law already prohibiting leaving children in cars, the new law could help those more susceptible to succumbing to heat related death.
“A dog’s body temperature runs at a higher temperature than humans, normally,” Rolfe said.
Dog owners told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas they have left their dog behind before. However, many said Friday’s heat was too much to do so.
The same dog owners told CBS4 they would also consider utilizing the new law, given the right chance, after August 10.
“If I thought a dog’s life was in danger, of course I would [smash the window],” said Britt Turner, a dog owner.
“If I had to break a window, I guess I would,” said Cole Horton, a dog owner. “Depending on the situation. It would have to be pretty drastic. But, I guess I would.”
Some said the animals should also be treated, in this case, the same way a human would want to be.
“I think that’s how you should treat everything. Person, or dog,” Turner said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.