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Police: Man left dog in hot car

August 28, 2018 11:30 pm

HUDSON — A Hunter man is accused of leaving his dog inside a hot pickup truck for about an hour Monday, police said.

Frank D. Lopicollo, 65, was ticketed for confinement of an animal in a hot vehicle under the state’s Agriculture Markets Law, according to a statement from Hudson police.

Police responded to a call from someone who saw the dog in the truck on the upper level of the Columbia Memorial Health, 71 Prospect Ave., parking garage at 1:45 p.m. Monday. The dog had been “going crazy,” according to the police report.

Officer Nick Hodges arrived and found a blue 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup parked in direct sunlight with a medium-sized pit bull mix locked inside with no windows open, police said.

The officer found the dog panting and barking excessively, according to police.

The outside temperature reading from Hodges’ patrol car was 90 degrees, according to the police report.

At an exterior temperature of 90 degrees, the estimated vehicle interior air temperature could reach 133 degrees in 60 minutes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website.

Hospital security paged the owner, who was inside the hospital. The owner arrived to the truck as Hodges was unlocking it.

The dog had been left in the truck for about an hour, according to police.

“The dog was OK, given water and returned to the owner,” Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said.

A judge will determine if Lopicollo will be allowed to keep the dog, police said.

Lopicollo was issued a ticket and is scheduled to return to Hudson City Court at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11.

Hudson police have responded to over 40 similar calls of pets left in hot or cold vehicles since the beginning of summer 2017, Moore said.

A person cannot confine a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures under state law. The offense is a violation, punishable by a fine of not less than $50 or more than $100 for a first offense, according to the law.

The Columbia-Greene Humane Society receives calls of pets left in hot cars, but those calls are deferred to law enforcement, said Ron Perez, president of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA.

A common misconception pet owners have is they can run an errand and leave their pet in a car alone for a few minutes, Perez said.

“It is just too hot — even with the windows cracked and cross ventilation,” he said. “Within 15 minutes, the temperature will spike to 100 degrees. You can’t leave an animal unattended — just like a child — in this kind of weather. It is too extreme.”

“Good Samaritan” laws exist in eight states that allow a person to break a car window to rescue a pet, according to Michigan State University College of Law website. New York is not one of them, but the state is one of 19 where public officials, such as law enforcement and humane officers, can legally break into a vehicle to help rescue an animal, according to the state penal law.

To help a pet left in a hot vehicle, according to the Humane Society of the United States:

n Take down the vehicle’s make, model and license plate number

n Notify the managers or security guards of nearby businesses and ask them to make an announcement to find the vehicle’s owner. Many people are unaware of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars and will quickly return to their vehicle once they are notified of the situation.

n If the owner cannot be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the vehicle for them to arrive.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616, or email, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.