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Animal Rescue League urges pet owners to keep animals safe during heat wave

"Just like the temperature is difficult on people, it is more difficult on animals. They're wearing a fur coat," said the director of animal services at ARL Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa — EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is from the June 14 broadcast. 

If you're feeling the heat this summer, you're not the only one: Your furry friends are also struggling with high temperatures.

According to Joe Stafford, director of animal services at Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Iowa, advises against leaving your pets in hot cars. 

"In this type of heat, animals should never be in a car unless they're going to a veterinarian or some place they absolutely have to go. Just like the temperature is difficult on people, it is more difficult on animals. They're wearing a fur coat," Stafford said. 

Stafford said the ARL crew is working hard to help animals day and night. With temperatures set to rise again, he said it's important to monitor your animal's behavior. 

"If you see an animal that's not moving, or lethargic, not acting normal, those are all extreme warning signs," Stafford said. "And that's things that we need to know about so we can respond and hopefully get the animal to a safe place."

The ARL of Iowa provides animal control for the city of Des Moines. During weeks with a triple digit heat index, they also answer calls about overheated animals. 

Animal Services Officer Kailyn Graham at ARL of Iowa explained that the process of rescuing an animal in distress from a warm vehicle can be tricky. 

"We either get the crow team over if we had a little bit of time to wait and they can get the door open," Graham said. "If it's pretty urgent and we need to get that animal out right now, a cop will come break it for us."

After the animal is safe from extreme heat situations, Graham said that's often when the legal ramifications start. 

"You get the animal safe, you want to cool them down and give them water. You don't want to shock their system and cool them off too quick," Graham said. "We want to get them to the vet and then we want to figure out who the owner is and look at care and treatment charges."

Due to inflation, ARL Iowa is seeing a bigger need for veterinarian financial aid, as well as food and other care items for pets. They urge pet owners to reach out for help before their pet suffers.  

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