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'I want to hope it wasn't intentional': Louisville reacts after two dogs die after being left in hot car

Louisville Metro Animal Services Deputy Director Jerry Foley said the only time you should take trips with pets is to go to the vet.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Many hearts are heavy after an incident Wednesday, where two dogs died after being left in a hot car for hours.

It happened near the 6600 block of Hunters Creek Boulevard around 11 a.m., according to Louisville Metro Police. One surrounding neighbor, who asked to be identified by her first name only, told WHAS11 she was shocked no one had notified authorities sooner.

“The houses are pretty close, you can hear somebody dragging a trash can back,” Samantha said. "I want to hope it wasn't intentional, I don't believe it would be.”

Over at Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS), Deputy Director Jerry Foley said, whether intentional or not, he sees it happen too often.

“I would say four or five times a week here, right now when it gets this hot,” Foley said.

RELATED: Hot Weather Safety: Keeping your furry-friend safe in the summer

He said the only time you should be taking trips with your animals in the summer months is to go to the vet.

“You can't account for things that are going to go wrong,” Foley said. “If you have a flat tire, you run out of gas.”

According to the Humane Society of the United States, when outside temperatures are just 85 degrees, after 10 minutes, the temperature inside a vehicle with its windows rolled up can reach 102 degrees. After 30 minutes, temperatures can exceed 120 degrees.

“It's common sense that when [you have] the hot sun and it's 90 degrees outside, it hits the glass, it’s like an oven,” Foley said.

Foley said while many who encounter a distressed pet, locked in a car on a hot day may feel inclined to break it out, it isn’t the best course of action here in Kentucky. He said people should dial 911 first and foremost.

Kentucky law does not protect someone from breaking into a car to save an animal.

RELATED: 'They make our lives whole': Low-cost vet clinic opens on Newburg Road

Though the same doesn't go for people living in Indiana. It's one of 11 states where it is legal to use any means necessary to rescue a distressed pet—including breaking into a vehicle to set it free.

“Our legislation often does not reflect how Kentucky residents feel about their pets," Mychell Lawson of Kentucky Animal Action, said.

She said she feels it's a disparity that needs to be fixed.

It was June 2021, when her group played a role in Metro Council's passing of the Extreme Weather Protection of Animals Ordinance.

The ordinance requires animals to be brought inside during inclement weather, classifies animal control officers as first responders and makes it illegal for someone to leave their animal unattended in a car. It also authorizes animal control officers and first responders to take steps to rescue a companion animal in a hot or cold car in order to prevent suffering.

Lawson says she is actively trying to petition state lawmakers to update Kentucky law, ultimately giving citizens immunity to save pets in locked cars by any means necessary.

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