In addition to the life-threatening stress on the animal, leaving a pet in a vehicle can lead to charges of animal neglect if a person knowingly fails to provide minimum care for an animal, said Sgt. Curtis Whipple, canine supervisor for Medford police

In addition to the life-threatening stress on the animal, leaving a pet in a vehicle can lead to charges of animal neglect if a person knowingly fails to provide minimum care for an animal, said Sgt. Curtis Whipple, canine supervisor for Medford police

Whipple responded to three calls of animals in distress during his holiday shift. The dogs' owners were found relatively quickly, and no citations were issued, he said.

However, at the Rogue Valley Mall on Monday, a fellow officer cited a woman with second-degree animal neglect after a pit bull was allegedly left sweltering in a vehicle for more than an hour, Whipple said.

On a 65-degree day, temperatures inside a car can reach in excess of 140 degrees in less than 30 minutes. A dog who is panting heavily, appears anxious and has glazed eyes, a rapid heart rate or is vomiting may have heat stroke and should be immediately placed in an environment with cool air and rushed to a veterinary care center, Whipple said. Heat stroke can lead to organ shutdown and intestinal damage.

— Sanne Specht