Dogs in hot cars Facebook hoax making rounds in Lane County

Kota, a happy and healthy dog at Amazon Dog Park. Photo by Ellen Meny.

EUGENE, Ore.- A Facebook post containing false information about what to do when a person sees a dog in a hot car is making its way through social media.

The City of Eugene Animal Services division is telling people not to believe this post:

Molly Monette, Animal Services Supervisor, says they've received several emails and messages about this post.

Monette says the post has gone viral throughout the United States, but she doesn't know where it originated from.

"There's no law that permits a community member to do that, and we cannot advise somebody to do that," Monette says.

She explains the only people allowed to do something like that is a law enforcement officer.

"We are trained to know what to look for, and we are protected if we have probable cause," Monette said. "The community doesn't. More importantly, we're also concerned about their safety. If the animal is aggressive or the owner is upset, and they're also liable for potential damages."

Instead, Monette says to first try to find the owner if the dog appears calm and healthy.

If the parking lot is connected to a business, she suggests asking the business to page the owner.

If that doesn't work, or if the dog looks sick or upset, call the police non-emergency line at 541-682-5111 or the Animal Services line at 541-687-4060. The dispatcher will ask you to describe the scene and determine the level of danger to the dog.

Monette suggests you stay in the area until an officer arrives, so you can monitor the situation or alert the officer if the owner returns.

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