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Man who left animals in hot vehicle facing animal cruelty charges after cat dies

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As temperatures remain unseasonably high in Washington State, animals continue to be in danger of heat sickness or even death. KLEW News reported today that a Pullman, Washington man is facing animal cruelty in the second degree for leaving his two dogs and a cat in a hot vehicle on Saturday.

According to Pullman Police Commander Chris Tennant, Marvin Mead left his two dogs and a cat in his pickup for nearly ten hours. Sadly, the cat was unable to withstand the prolonged heat and had to be euthanized at Washington State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The cat was suffering from dehydration and complications from the heat.

This is not the first time that Mead has left his animals in his vehicle. According to Tennant, the police have caught Mead leaving his animals unattended before.

"He's been contacted about leaving his dogs in the cab of the truck on numerous occasions leading up to this event," stated Commander Tennant.

"And then with the death of the cat we felt that it was necessary to go ahead and make an arrest."

Both of Mead's dogs are reported to be okay and are currently with his relatives. An autopsy will be performed on the cat.

Animal Cruelty in the second degree (RCW 16.52.207) is defined as:

(1) A person is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the person knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence inflicts unnecessary suffering or pain upon an animal.

(2) An owner of an animal is guilty of animal cruelty in the second degree if, under circumstances not amounting to first degree animal cruelty, the owner knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence:

(a) Fails to provide the animal with necessary shelter, rest, sanitation, space, or medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result of the failure;

(b) Under circumstances not amounting to animal cruelty in the second degree under (c) of this subsection, abandons the animal; or

(c) Abandons the animal and
(i) as a result of being abandoned, the animal suffers bodily harm; or
(ii) abandoning the animal creates an imminent and substantial risk that the animal will suffer substantial bodily harm.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) notes that vehicles are subject to the greenhouse effect - it doesn't have to be exceptionally hot outside for a vehicle to be hot inside. When it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within only one hour. When it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within only ten minutes. While many people believe that rolling down their windows provides relief for animals, this has been shown to have little effect on the inside temperature of the vehicle.

The HSUS provides the following advice if you find a pet left in a vehicle:

Leaving pets locked in cars is never safe. But when the weather gets warmer, it can be deadly. Pets can't withstand high temperatures—they can cause irreparable organ damage and even death.

Take down the car's make, model and license-plate number. If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car's owner. If the owner can't be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive.

Animals cannot speak for themselves - we have to advocate for them.

Pet heat safety can save an animal's life. Sadly, many animals left in cars die every year. Please share this information about pet heat dangers to help protect other animals.

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