Hot Dogs and Fireworks

We are headed for a great weekend here in Ukiah, a weekend full of hot dogs and fireworks.

If you haven’t checked out Moonlight Movie Madness, this Friday is a great time to do so.

On Friday, June 30, the City of Ukiah Recreation Department–with funding from some great community sponsors–will be showing the movie “Trolls” in the Alex R. Thomas Plaza starting at dusk. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the Fourth of July weekend than this family-friendly event. The weather is warm, it’s a three day weekend, and it’s a great chance to get out and have some fun!

But while you’re out with your family, don’t forget about your pets. We all know that fireworks can scare pets, so please remember to consider them when you’re making Fourth of July plans.

As summer heats up, it’s important to consider your pets at other times, too. When people run quick errands and leave their dogs in the car, it can lead to tragic results. Most people don’t realize how quickly the temperature can rise inside a car. On a 90-degree day, the interior temperature of your car can reach more than 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. At that heat, it only takes 15 minutes for your dog to sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke, because dogs can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws and nose—and they can’t cool down when they’re in an oven-like atmosphere.

To determine how dangerous a car can be for a dog, Stanford University studied temperatures of car interiors as compared to the ambient (outside) temperature. This study found that cars act like large ovens—even in the shade. With an outside temperature of 72 degrees, a car’s internal temperature will rocket to 116 degrees in only one hour. Surprisingly, the study found that cracking your windows doesn’t do much to slow the oven effect.

The hotter it is outside (shade or not), the more quickly a car’s internal temperatures can become devastating for a dog.

The website says if you find a dog in a car and you can find the car owner, please let them know their pet may be in danger. If you find a dog in a car and can’t locate an owner, please call 911 before you try to break the car window yourself.

When you call us, our dispatchers will tell you how quickly someone can respond. While you wait, it’s always a good idea to let stores near the parked car know about the dog in danger with a description of the car; stores will often make an announcement to help find the owner of a pet in distress.  

Here at the Ukiah Police Department (UPD), we are passionate about animal safety and protecting pets from harm. The penal code is clear: anyone who "tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats, or cruelly kills any animal" can be charged with a felony. If convicted, the dog's owner could face up to three years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Please call us if you witness animal cruelty.

If you plan to travel with your pet and you need to go indoors at a place that doesn’t allow pets, consider having someone in your party stay outside with your pet. If you’re alone, shop in pet-friendly stores and use drive-through restaurants, if possible. You can find more tips on traveling with a dog at

Here at UPD, we hope you get a chance to see a movie, spend some time with your family, and have a great weekend. While you do, please remember to safeguard your pets and remind others of the dangers of a hot car—and hot dogs!

As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have suggestions on how we can improve please feel free to call me. If you would like to know more about crime in your neighborhood, you can sign up for telephone, cell phone and email notifications by clicking the Nixle button on our website: 

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