WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — As the temperature rises, so do the number of animal cruelty cases, and the animal services in Wichita Falls want to lower those calls.

“Keep them inside with you, monitor them closely, make sure they have access to fresh water, shade, and cool air,” Animal Care Supervisor Diann Bowman said.

Pets like dogs and cats are at a higher risk of dehydration and overheating than humans are. Bowman says there are signs you can look for during the summer months.

“Some signs of dehydration are the loose skin you know if you can tend their skin, their gums are dry and tacky you know if the animal is lethargic, not feeling well, excessive panting. You know heat stroke is very common in dogs because dogs don’t sweat, they dissipate heat through panting so it’s important to keep an eye on them when it’s extremely hot. If they do show signs of heat stroke then get them to a veterinarian immediately,” Bowman said.

In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act to protect unattended dogs.

Wichita Falls Police Department Sgt. Charlie Eipper says this can lead to a fine or even an arrest.

“It starts with a class misdemeanor and the highest charge you can get under the statute in the penal code. It’s actually a second degree felony and that would be if you have had previous convictions from that offense and it depends on what kind of act you committed through action or emission that could take you all the way to a second degree felony,” Sgt. Eipper said.

With temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees or more, Bowman says it is best to not leave your pet inside the car at any time.

“The temperature in a car can, if it’s 85 degrees, can quickly overheat your animal so when our temperatures are 110 or more then it’s a death sentence. So we recommend not taking your pets with you whenever the weather is this extreme,” Bowman said.