The sight of a dog and a cat left inside a hot car parked along St. Helena's Main Street on Sunday resulted in several calls to police, who are seeking animal endangerment charges against the owner, police said Monday.
Their owner, a 39-year-old Vallejo woman, had been wine tasting at a nearby wine shop, said St. Helena Sgt. Scott Fleming.
She'd left the animals in her Honda Civic with a bucket of water and windows down a few inches, Fleming said.
Concerned citizens began calling police at about 2:30 p.m.
“It was Sunday afternoon, a lot of foot traffic. We got calls on that one,” Fleming said.
The cat was on the floor of the back seat and the dog was in the front seat. They'd been in the car for about an hour.
At the time it was over 94 degrees in the shade, Fleming said.
“On concrete, in a car half in the sun, it was much hotter than that,” he said. “It was an oven in there.”
Officers used a device to pop open one of the locked doors.
Cats can be tricky to pull out of a car but not this one, he said. “It jumped right into my arms and was happy to be there. She was really panting.”
Officers took the animals to a local veterinarian for an exam.
The vet told officers it was good they had freed the pair, since animals in a hot car can appear to be fine but within minutes can “take a dive and be so bad there is no way to bring them back,” Fleming said.
The pet owner also had left a large bucket of water in the car. While that may appear to be the right thing to do, the vet told officers the water actually is a bad idea because it raises the humidity inside the small space and makes the animals feel hotter, Fleming said.
Officers are sending the investigation to the Napa County District Attorney's Office, seeking a misdemeanor charge.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.