• Animal control officer bitten while responding to dog left in hot car

    By: Gina Esposito

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Animal Control Officer Keisha Martin was bitten Thursday while responding to a call about a dog left inside a hot car.

    A dog was kept in a car in an east Charlotte neighborhood. The call came in around 11 a.m. when temperatures were in the high 80s.

    The dog's owner told Martin that she had been staying with family, who wouldn't allow the dog inside.

    The dog's owner agreed to tie the dog to a shaded tree in the backyard.  

    "I'm going to give her some information on free rabies shots -- try to cover all the bases for her,” Martin said. “(The owner is) trying to do the right thing."

    [7 ways to protect your dog from heat stroke and hyperthermia]

    Martin was about to leave when the dog broke loose from the tree.

    "And I was bitten -- Never been bit -- been 15 years," she said. 

    Martin seized the dog on what should have been a routine call.

    "That’s not the outcome I was hoping for, but that’s where we are at," Martin said.

    Despite what happened, Martin wants to stress the importance of keeping animals safe when it’s hot.

    Since May 17, Channel 9's team of meteorologists said temperatures have been in the high 80s and 90s. That's reflected in the number of calls CMPD's Animal Control unit has received for pets. From May 17 to May 30, they've had 90 animal cruelty calls.

    They said 36 calls were for dogs being left in hot cars while their owners shopped at the grocery store, got their nails done and even went to a movie theater. The remaining calls were for animals being outside without food, water or shelter.

    Martin said even taking out your dog for a walk can be dangerous, especially on concrete. A heat gun showed the concrete was 116 degrees at about 10 a.m. Thursday.

    A veterinarian at Long Animal Hospital said hot concrete can burn a dog's paws.

    Veterinarians said dogs have a similar body temperature to humans, so if you're uncomfortable, then your pet is most likely feeling the same way, too.


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