With four cases already reported in 2014, the Kyle Police Department has taken a strong stance against children and pets being left alone in vehicles, issuing what they called a Zero Tolerance Policy.
“We are receiving an increasing amount of calls from concerned citizens regarding children as well as animals left in vehicles as temperatures rise,” Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett said in a statement. “Our strengthened enforcement actions are being enacted to secure the safety of children and pets left in unsafe conditions.”
First responders in the city of Kyle were dispatched to over a dozen such cases last year, though more are believed to have gone unreported.
Across the country, unattended children and pets in hot vehicles has been an ongoing problem with hundreds of children losing their lives.
At least 44 children in the U.S. became a victim to heatstroke deaths in vehicles in 2013. These children were either left in or gained access to hot vehicles. Research shows death can occur on days as mild as 70 degrees F.
In addition to the moral responsibility, Barnett said, is the legal responsibility. A caregiver can be charged with a class C misdemeanor or up to a felony, depending upon the circumstances. Kyle Police will also notify Child Protective Services regarding each instance where a child is found unattended in a car.
An equally deadly concern is auto theft. Nearly 65,000 cars and trucks are stolen each year in Texas; nearly half of all vehicles stolen had the keys left inside. Even if a caretaker has view of the vehicle it can take only seconds until a criminal enters and is driving off in your vehicle with an unattended child.
Call 911 or Kyle PD non-emergency, 512-268-3232 to report any dangerous situation.