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Authorities are reminding everyone not to leave animals in cars after more than 20 calls for dogs in distress since June 1.

SIERRA VISTA — Sierra Vista animal control officers want to remind people that leaving an animal in a hot car is not only a bad idea, it’s illegal.

Since June 1, animal control officers at the Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center have responded to 21 calls regarding dogs left in hot vehicles. Several have taken place this month.

Even though summer temperatures in Cochise County are usually not as high as in places like Phoenix or Tucson, cars can still heat up to dangerous temps, even when it may feel relatively pleasant outside to people.

According to the Sierra Vista Police Department’s Facebook page, one canine was left in a vehicle where the interior temperature had soared to 132 degrees. The police department Facebook page post stressed that dogs are unable to cool themselves off like humans and that usually the temperature inside a vehicle can be several degree hotter than it is outside.

”Dogs can collapse and even die from heatstroke within minutes of being left in vehicles,” the post said.

Even if the dog isn’t hurt, anyone leaving an animal in a car could still face some consequences.

“State law says that it is illegal to leave an animal in an unattended vehicle where death or injury can occur,” said Arlene Garcia, supervisor at the animal care center.

Of the 21 incidents, several owners have been criminally cited, police said.

Garcia said also discourages people from leaving their animals in running, air-conditioned car because “anything can go wrong,” such as the motor turning off or any other mechanical malfunction.

She suggested that people leave their pets at home if they know that they are going to a location where animals are not permitted.

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