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Watch: Panting dogs nearly rescued from hot car in Meridian

KTVB rode along with Animal Control Monday as they rescued dogs from hot cars.

BOISE — KTVB went patrolling with Animal Control officers on Monday, looking for dogs left in hot cars.

Officer Heidi Freutel with Animal Control has been on the job 12 years.

In the summer, she spends a good amount of time rescuing dogs from hot cars.

"It gets pretty bad, especially when it’s like 100 degrees," says Freutel.

She was 20 minutes into her shift Monday before receiving a tip.

"Go ahead," Fruetel says as she answers her radio.

The caller reports hot dogs in a car parked at St. Luke's hospital in Meridian.

As soon as KTVB pulled into the parking lot, we saw a red SUV with two furry heads peeking out the window, panting and barking.

Fruetel takes a temperature reading.

"I have a 98, 96 right there, obviously the dogs are panting, they are uncomfortable,' says Freutel.

Typically, this is when Officer Fruetal makes the call to either remove the dogs herself or wait for police.

She decides to wait.

"They are panting, they look uncomfortable to me, I know that they are not in too much distress at this time where if they were I would be removing them before the officer got here," says Freutel.

The dogs' owner shows up just as three Meridian Police officers arrive on scene, prepared to free the dogs and hand them over to Fruetel to take to the Idaho Humane Society.

Police let the owner leave with the dogs this time but not before citing him for animal cruelty, a potentially stiff penalty.

"You could face up to six months in jail or up to a $300 fine in an animal cruelty misdemeanor," says Kristine Schellhaas with the Idaho Humane Society.

Schellhaas says this summer has been busy with callers reporting dogs left in hot cars, an uptick from last year.

"Last year we had about 230 dogs in hot car calls and this year we are already up to just under 200," says Schellhaas.

And of course, if you see a distressed dog in a hot car, call Animal Control or the police.

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