Spring is a wonderful season of warm days and lots of sunshine. It's a great time to be outdoors with your favorite pet companions and maybe take a drive to the beach or park.

Spring is also the season when Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter and the city's police department get numerous phone calls from worried citizens who see animals being left inside cars in the hot sun. People think they can make a quick stop for "just a minute" to run into the store to get some supplies, and their pet will be just fine with the windows cracked open. This isn't true.

When the temperature is 70 degrees, it only takes minutes before the interior temperature of a car reaches 110 to 120 degrees. If the outside temperature is closer to 90 degrees, the temperature inside the car reaches 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

When the temperature reaches these thresholds, animals will sustain brain damage and perish quickly. A hot car is especially hard on dogs who can only cool themselves by panting or sweating through their paws.

If you see a pet inside a car on a hot day, take down the car's color, model, make and license plate number. Call the police and report the animal in danger. In Alameda, the phone number is 510-337-8340. While you are waiting for animal control or the police, have someone keep an eye on the pet and have the owner paged in the nearest buildings.

Please also remember that hot pavement, sand or most other hot surfaces can burn your pet's feet. A good rule of thumb is that if the surface is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for your pet's. If you notice burns or blisters on your pet's foot pads, seek immediate veterinary care.

PET OF THE WEEK: SPECKLES is a neutered English spot adult rabbit with a sweet temperament.

DOG ALLEY: There are 15 dogs available for adoption at the shelter. TJ is an 11-month-old gray Maltese that is lively, playful and eager for some dog training. SHANE is a very handsome black German shepherd that is smart and a little shy. He's very playful and silly when he becomes comfortable.

CAT LAIR: There are 17 cats available for adoption at the shelter. SIMBA is a handsome silver Siamese mix about a year old and very sweet. LOUISE is a beautiful longhair calico cat about 3 years old with no tail! She's a charming and friendly feline.

RABBIT ROW: MARTIN is a neutered agouti, and SMUDGE is a handsome pink-eyed Himalayan. DULCE is a neutered black New Zealander. All are very friendly and affectionate.

Upcoming Events

  • 1 to 4 p.m. April 5 -- Hayward Animal Services, at 36 Barnes Court in Hayward, will hold a rabbit adoption event. The first-Saturday-of-the-month event showcases rabbits from several Bay Area animal shelters and rescues.

    Mim Carlson is executive director of Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter. Visit the shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way at Grand Street, or call 510-337-8565.