Schenectady County

Dangers of hot cars illustrated in Niskayuna Co-Op incident

Authorities say a Monday morning incident outside the Niskayuna Co-Op is a reminder to dog owners no
The Niskayuna Co-Op located at 2227 Nott St.
The Niskayuna Co-Op located at 2227 Nott St.

Authorities say a Monday morning incident outside the Niskayuna Co-Op is a reminder to dog owners not to leave their pets in cars in the summer weather.

The incident happened about 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot across from the co-op. Bystanders spotted a small dog locked in a van when outside air temperatures ranged up to 80 degrees.

Police said Wednesday they followed up with the owner a short time later and determined the dog was OK. The officer also spoke with the owner about the dangers of leaving animals in cars, Deputy Niskayuna Police Chief Michael Stevens said Wednesday.

But the incident caused a stir and a small crowd to gather as they monitored the dog and waited either for police to arrive or the owner to return. They also checked nearby businesses and had announcements made, bystander Ann Connolly, of Clifton Park, said.

She said the windows were up and she believed the dog was in distress. The owner came out before police arrived and left with the dog, Connolly said. She said they were further concerned because the woman wouldn’t let them check on the dog.

Police records indicate the first call came in at 10:31 a.m. and an officer arrived at 10:55, but the vehicle and crowd were gone by then, Stevens said. Unrelated calls at the time prevented a quicker response, Stevens said.

The officer, however, used the license plate number provided to dispatchers and went to the owner’s home. There, he met with the owner and viewed and interacted with the small dog. He was satisfied it was the dog in question and that it was fine, Stevens said. Stevens commended the officer, Jordan Kochan, for following up the way he did.

Stevens did not identify the dog owner.

According to the National Weather Service, air temperatures at nearby Albany International Airport were 76 degrees at 10 a.m. Monday and 80 degrees at 11 a.m.

The Humane Society of the United States indicates outside temperatures of 80 degrees can heat up to 99 degrees inside a car within 10 minutes. It also indicated that rolling down windows has little effect.

The society recommends if a dog is spotted in a closed vehicle to take down the car’s information, check nearby businesses for the vehicle owner and call the local non-emergency number for police and wait by the car for officers to arrive. All three of those were done Monday.

Also, two bills are expected to be proposed in January, if not sooner, in the state Legislature, to allow individuals to break windows if they have a good faith belief that an animal or child is in distress. The bill, if passed, would protect those individuals from criminal or civil liability. Assemblyman James Tedisco, R-Glenville, is a co-sponsor on both bills.

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