Denver might be figuring this out; Reports of dogs in hot cars are down

Steve Staeger went along with Animal Control to find out how Denverites are handling their pets.

DENVER - Maybe more Denver residents are getting over separation anxiety with their pets. Reports of dogs and cats in hot cars are down.

Denver Animal Protection, the animal control arm of the city, reports 233 calls about animals in hot cars so far this year, down from 300 at this time in 2016. That represents a 22 percent decrease.

Denver Animal Control Officer Jenna Humphreys credits the decline with all the attention the issue has received lately.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a new law giving witnesses protection if they break a window to save a child or a dog in a hot car with some restrictions. Good Samaritans must make an effort to find the dogs owner, call the authorities, check to see that the doors are in fact locked, and wait on scene if they want to break a window to get an animal or child out.

The issue was also popularized by Kyle Clark’s commentary about finding a dog locked in a hot car last summer.

“I think we’re getting a lot more people staying on scene which is good. A lot more paying attention to detail which is good,” Officer Humphreys told Next.

She encourages anyone who spots a dog locked in a hot vehicle to call Denver’s 311 immediately. She said if you live in another part of town, call 911 to be directed to the right place.

Humphreys says you should check on the condition of the dog.

“If the dogs up and barking, that’s not a sign of distress. It’s most likely a sign of anxiety,” she said.

Be sure to make sure the dispatcher knows the dogs condition so the dispatcher can prioritize the response.

She also suggests asking the dispatcher for an estimated response time to determine whether there may be enough time to wait for authorities before breaking the window on their own.

“We have to be smart about this…we have to make good choices,” she said.

Several of you had more questions about dogs in hot cars - like what to do if the dog's owner shows up while you're waiting on police? (Under the new law, you are required to call police before taking action.) Steve went on a ride-along with Humphrey's today. Check out our Facebook Live Q&A:

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