Welcome back for part two! Let's start off by giving Sgt. Josh Rolfe a round of aPAWs for being so generous with is time and really going in depth with is answers. Last month we shared Part 1 of the interview and without further ado, here is Part 2!
Buckley Pet: With summer coming up, what are some tips you have for people that see a dog in a hot car?
Sgt. Rolfe: As many people know, the state of Colorado passed a new law allowing people to break a car window to save pets and children left in hot vehicles. (Research your state's hot car laws here). There is still a requirement that those people call emergency services to try and get them on scene as soon as possible. My advice to anyone who runs into this situation is to call it into Denver 311 or your city's non-emergency police line. We take these situations very seriously and are usually able to respond quickly.
BP: What are some tips for people that need to leave their pet in a car on a hot day, so they stay safe?
SR: My advice if people are considering leaving a pet in a car on a hot day, is to think things through and act in the best interest of your pet. If you are going to the grocery store on your way back from a vet visit, perhaps it's worth the five minutes of extra time to go home and drop your pet off before going to the store. If you are running in to grab lunch after taking your dog to the dog park, how long is that line in the restaurant and are you really going to be "just five minutes"? If a situation does arise where you MUST go inside somewhere while your dog is with you, I would make sure that the car is well ventilated and that there's water available for the animal. Remote start is a wonderful thing when you can leave the AC on in the vehicle for a few minutes. I have been working as an Animal Protection Officer for 8 years and I can tell you I have yet to run into a situation where a dog was left in a hot car where I felt the owner had no other options than to leave that dog in that situation. This is an issue that I, and the public at large, are very passionate about.
BP: If I take my dog out backpacking, what are some things I can do to ensure my dog's safety?
SR: The number one recommendation to take a dog out into the wilderness is not to let the dog run loose. I know that with big open spaces that is a very hard thing to do and many people take their dogs out into those areas to do just that. However, this is how pets get lost and this is how pets get into confrontations with wildlife. We just had an incident in Colorado last year where a dog was lost near a fourteener and was missing for six weeks. This dog was 13 years old and it's truly a miracle that other hikers found the dog alive and carried her down the mountain. Whatever you are packing for yourself, you should also pack for your pet. Medical supplies, food, water, and entertainment. I always recommend that pet owners have their pets microchipped and licensed/vaccinated. If you are going backpacking, you should speak with your veterinarian to find out what common zoonotic diseases are in the area and potentially get vaccinations for those things for your pet.
BP: What programs do you have in place for educating and reaching out to people who have little to no access to animal wellness information and services?
SR: Denver Animal Protection has a robust outreach program, including a Pets for Life program. This program targets underserved neighborhoods. In the past year, we provided spay/neuter services for over 600 animals and helped hundreds more receive free vaccinations! We also use grant funds to support a Pet Retention program to help citizens in need get low-cost veterinary services, and to assist with other resources in the home. In addition, we partner with several non-profit animal charities to provide resources. A few that have been a huge help to the citizens of Denver are the PetPantry, Buddy's Builders, and Buckley of course!
BP: What is your favorite thing about working with animals?
SR: I appreciate being a voice for those who do not have a voice themselves. I like that my work has a direct impact on the community and I see the positive impacts I have with the things that I do, even when situations are sometimes heartbreaking.
BP: Have you yourself rescued and adopted a pet?
SR: I actually have. There was a welfare call I received about 3 years ago regarding a puppy that was in pain and the owner was not treating him. When I showed up at the address, there was a little puppy that had what appeared to be an injury to his tail. I spoke with the owner and he allowed me to see the dog and I found that the owner had tried to dock his puppy's tail with dental rubber bands that are used for braces. This had caused the dog's tail to become very infected and was causing severe pain to the animal. The puppy was seized and the owner charged with animal cruelty. The shelter was awarded custody of the dog, and our veterinary team performed surgery to clean out the infection, and then I adopted him. He joined my other two dogs in the family and we couldn't be happier.