You just can't be too careful.
The Athens Police Department was called to aid a jogger who left her small children in the car Thursday morning in the 1400 block of E. Tyler Street.
She also left her dog in the vehicle. The animal apparently began moving around and accidentally locked the door with the motor running. The woman, who didn't intend to be far away from the vehicle during her exercise, contacted police when she couldn't get back in the car.
APD Officer James Graham arrived a short time later to unlock the door. Fortunately, it was only about 9:15 a.m. and before the intense heat that sent the Athens temperature to 93 degrees that afternoon.
Assistant Chief of Police Rodney Williams III said although this was an unusual situation, from time to time an officer does have to help someone get in a vehicle. He said it's best, if possible, not to leave small children in a car unattended.
"We advise people to keep an extra set of keys and be mindful if you have pets inside," Williams said. "There are ways of storing keys outside a vehicle, but you have to be discreet about those. Be mindful of your surroundings and always be prepared."
According to the National Safety Council, 53 children in the United States died in hot cars in 2018.
NCS reported 2018 was the deadliest year on record in the past 20 years. Since 1998, more than 800 children have died from vehicular heatstroke; 24% occurred in employer parking lots while the parent or caregiver was at work. Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these preventable deaths.
In 22 states it is illegal to leave a dog unattended in a vehicle. Texas does not currently have any statutes that make leaving a pet in a parked car or truck illegal.
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