Posted: Aug 9, 2013 3:25 PM by MTN News
HELENA - Coy Lee Thomas of Helena has been cited for cruelty to animals, according to the Helena Police Department.
Police received a report on Sunday at 4:07 p.m. that a puppy had been left inside a hot car in the parking of the Bill Roberts Golf Course.
An Animal Control Officer was sent to investigate and found an 8-week old Australian shepherd inside the vehicle.
The officer noted that the dog appeared to be "in distress" and in need of care, so she removed the dog from the car and tended to it.
Officers estimate that the puppy had been inside the car since 2:30 p.m., more than 90 minutes.
Thomas, 20, was located when he returned to his vehicle after playing golf and cited for cruelty to animals.
We do not yet know if the puppy was returned to Thomas.
Veterinarian Jani Zirbel, owner of Animal Blessings Pet Hospital in Missoula, says that animals have no way to cool themselves, so they'll suffer from the effects of heat much sooner than a person.
Zirbel said the only acceptable way to leave a pet inside a vehicle for any length of time is to leave the car running with the air conditioning on: "That's the only way you can do it. You don't even have five minutes when it's this hot."
Zirbel said to call 911 if you see an animal locked in a car on a hot day. Even when the temperature outside is only 70 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach 90 degrees within ten minutes and more than 100 degrees within 20 minutes.