By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- A parked car plus an unattended dog inside equals trouble.
Last week, a Vero Beach couple posted $1,000 in bonds and were released from jail after being arrested for animal cruelty for leaving a dog in a parked vehicle.
Even with a window partially open, temperatures inside a car can climb to 120 degrees within minutes, even on a mild Florida day with an outside temperature of 78 degrees. Especially during Florida summers, leaving anyone inside a car, two-legged or four-legged, isn't a good idea, said Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County staff.
At press time, the case was undergoing investigation by Indian River County animal control. The dog was last reported to be in good condition at the animal shelter.
Joseph, 31, and Amy Payne, 29, or 6156 20th St., Vero Beach, were both charged with animal cruelty after a citizen notified the Indian River County Sheriff's Office that a dog was parked in an unoccupied car which was not running in a parking lot for more than one hour, a press release said.
The couple posted bond later that day.
Animal control officers are equipped with temperature gauges to determine the temperature inside a locked car and one to take the temperature of an animal. A reading of the parked car was between 119 degrees and 124 degrees.
The small brown Chihuahua/Dachshund mix in the car was panting heavily when authorities arrived on the scene and didn't bark when an officer put a hand inside a partially open window, the report said.
The dog's external temperature was 106 degrees, approximately four degrees above the highest normal body temperature range.
The Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County has a car thermometer that can be placed on the car window to measure the temperature, said Janet Winikoff, education director for the animal shelter.
The gauge has an arrow that points to a "safe temperature" range and a "dangerous" range.
For more information about the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, visit www.ircsheriff.com.
For more information about the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County, visit www.hsvb.org.