In this heat your parked car becomes a death trap - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

In this heat your parked car becomes a death trap

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - When a heat wave hits, San Diego County residents also have to worry about heat stroke, and not just for themselves, but their pets.

Jeff Zevely participated in a demonstration Thursday in Rancho Santa Fe to show how quickly temperatures rise to deadly levels inside a vehicle.

This is a good reminder for every pet owner on a hot day. The experiment is pretty simple: John Van Zante with the Helen Woodward Animal Center and I are going to get into a van with a thermometer and watch the temperature soar.

Van Zante says Helen Woodward orchestrates this exercise every year because a staff member in 2003 witnessed a German shepherd die from heat stroke after being left in a car.

"She said it's the worst possible way I can imagine for a pet to die," Van Zante said.

Although John and I start to sweat immediately as our bodies attempt to stay cool, keep in mind that dogs are covered with fur and the only real way they can cool down is to pant and drool.

In just three minutes, the temperature rose by 13 degrees.

We are doing this demonstration with the windows up, but what about those who say they crack the windows for their pets?

"We did the same demonstration with the windows cracked a couple of years ago and it only made about a one-degree difference," Van Zante said.

So don't think you can run a quick errand with your pet locked in your car.

"Think about it, it's your best friend. It's a family member and we have shown you it's dangerous. It could claim the life of your child, your pet," Van Zante said.

Only seven total minutes after getting into the van and the temperature rose from 93 degrees to 116. Even though it's 88 degrees outside, when you step out of a van that's approaching 120 degrees, the air feels refrigerated.

Van Zante says if you leave your dog in the backyard without proper shading and water, your pet can be in danger there too.

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