YUBA COUNTY -- When K-9s go to work in 100-degree heat, they need time to cool down after chasing a criminal.
"A half-hour or so is what they need to actually get their body temperature back down in order to come back out and work,” said Yuba County Sheriff’s Deputy Roger Tarwater.
They have water in the back of the K-9 patrol cars, but equally important is the air conditioning.
"We can actually take the keys out of the ignition but the vehicle stays running for them for the air conditioning and keeps him cool back there,” said Yuba County Sheriff’s Deputy Arthur Williams.
Deputies Williams and Tarwater demonstrated the technology that ensures their K-9s, Lomax and Chase, are always cool in the car.
The deputies carry pager-like devices that tell them the temperature of the front cabin and K-9 area of the vehicle. If the air conditioning should fail while a deputy is away from the car, they get an alert and several safeguards will automatically kick in.
"So, it turns on at 90 degrees,” Williams said. “The alarm's going to basically go off, windows will roll down. This will start paging me saying that, ‘Hey, the heat sensor is going off.’"
A window fan also starts turning and, on some vehicles, a door may even open automatically. K-9s are trained to stay in the car.
Deputy Williams said if the public happens to hear a K-9 patrol vehicle’s horn honking and the handler is nowhere in sight, it’s best to call 911.
Since most of us don't have the same technology, Yuba County sheriff’s deputies caution all pet owners against taking any chances on a hot day.
“Just leave them at home in the AC. Don't leave them in a hot car. I know you think rolling the windows down is going to be enough for them but it's not,” Williams said.
The K-9 cooling technology is made by Ray Allen Manufacturing, a K-9 equipment supplier.