Public Safety & Health

As temperature increases, animal cruelty calls spike

Brian Austin, an animal cruelty officer, said the department generally sees an increase in animal welfare calls when temperatures are above 65. File Photo

Springfield has seen an escalation of animal cruelty calls this month as temperatures rose. Public safety leaders say it’s an important reminder to those who travel with animal companions.
”The main reason that these calls have seen a noticeable increase recently is due to the fact this call designation is used for calls regarding dogs left in hot cars,” said Brian Austin, animal control officer with the Springfield Police Department.
As of May 23, there were 15 calls regarding animal cruelty in Springfield; an increase from the nine calls in April and one in March. Although none of these calls became cases, they were categorized as ”three” and ”four” for officer priority. In Eugene, the results were similar. As of May 23 there were 16 calls of animal cruelty compared to the six in April and four in March; none of these calls became cases.
Although Creswell doesn’t have a specific category for these incidents, animal-related calls are categorized under Public Order – along with disorderly subjects, suspicious vehicles/persons and citizen-initiated contacts. There were 44 calls in April under public order with no cases being started; there is no category breakdown of how many of those calls were made about animals.
May has seen high temperatures this month, with the first two weeks having highs in the 60s through high 80s, according to AccuWeather.
”When the outside temperatures increase anywhere over 65 degrees, we usually see a fairly substantial increase in people noticing this type of thing and calling it in,” Austin said. ”We take these calls seriously and respond to determine if the dog has all of the necessities under the Oregon Animal Neglect/Minimum Care Standards.”
Leaving a pet in a hot car could result in charges for animal neglect in the first or second degree. First degree is a Class A misdemeanor with up to a $6,250 fine and one year in jail, and second degree is a Class B misdemeanor with up to a $2,500 fine and six months in jail.



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