New Hartford man accused of leaving dog in hot car

A New Hartford man is accused of leaving his dog inside a steaming hot car.

Seneca County Sheriff's deputies say 33-year-old Jeffrey Chalfant, of 908 Higby Road, left his St. Bernard in a parked car for 45 minutes to an hour. They say it happened in a parking lot of a business in the Town of Junius. Deputies say the temperature outside was 93 degrees at the time.

The dog did not appear to be injured from the incident.

Chalfant is charged with confinement of a companion animal in a vehicle in extreme temperatures.

He was released on an appearance ticket and is due back in Junius Town Court on August 16th.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), on an 85 degree day, it takes only 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees even with the windows left open an inch or two. Within 30 minutes, the car's interior can reach 120 degrees. It puts pets at risk for hyperthermia, or overheating.

If your animal gets overheated, the ASPCA recommends bringing down their body temperature by soaking them in cool (not ice) water. Make sure water does not get into the mouth or nose of an unconscious animal. Then, seek veterinary care immediately.

According to Section 353-d of New York's Agriculture and Markets Law, "a person shall not confine a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to exposure to such extreme heat or cold."

Read full details of the law.

Anyone who violates the law faces a fine of $50 to $100 for a first offense and $100 to $250 for a second and any subsequent offense.

More than 1,600 people have signed an online petition, pushing for similar laws in all 50 states. The group also urges people to call police if you see an animal left along in a car on a hot day. They also encourage people to print out copies of the ASPCA's Pets in Hot Cars flyer .

Here are some tips from the ASPCA when traveling with your pet in hot weather:

- Get a veterinary checkup before traveling and make sure you have the necessary vaccination certificates for the area you will be visiting, as well as flea and tick treatments.- Carry a gallon thermos of cold water or bring along a two-liter plastic bottle of water you froze the night before.- Exercise your pet during the coolest parts of the day (dawn and dusk), and never immediately following a meal.- Hot asphalt and tar can burn sensitive paw pads. Walk your pet on grass or dirt when possible.- Provide shade when your pet is outside on a hot day.

This is a violation under the New York State Agriculture and Markets law, so deputies are not required to release Chalfant's mug shot. Do you think they should? Should he face other charges? Do you think animal cruelty laws need to be stricter? If convicted, what is an appropriate punishment? Leave your thoughts below.