In a Southern California city where the high temperature on Sunday reached 91 degrees, two dozen cats meowing inside a closed parked car were clearly in distress.
“The cats had no water or fresh food in the Honda Civic in which they were trapped,” according to a news release from the Inland Empire Humane Society & S.P.C.A.
Alerted by an employee of the Quality Inn Ontario Convention Center in Ontario to the feline occupants of the vehicle parked on the hotel’s lot, police called on the animal welfare agency for help.
Workers with the humane society arrived and observed at least eight cats inside “and a potent smell escaping from the car,” according to the news release. On its Facebook page, the agency described the interior as “excrement infested.”
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“Temperature readings identified that the inside of the vehicle was 118 degrees and climbing with only one window cracked a total of three centimeters for air circulation,” said the news release. It added: “Humane Officers were able to get the vehicle’s passenger door open and immediately identified several more cats and only urine-saturated food available to them with no signs of drinking water.”
By the time the cats and kittens were counted from inside the trunk and main cabin of the vehicle, their number totaled 24.
All were taken to the humane society’s veterinary hospital to be re-hydrated and assessed. “Our veterinarians are committed to helping every one of these kitties regain health and strength!” the society said in a Facebook post.
The vehicle’s owner, who was identified as a guest of the hotel, but not otherwise named, surrendered the cats and was issued 24 citations for crimes against animals and animal in vehicle.
The humane society is seeking donations for the animals’ care and rehab. Many have since been made available for adoption and fostering, the society’s Social Media Manager Mansha Kaur told the Daily Bulletin.
“Please DO NOT leave animals alone in a vehicle,” it urged. “It is illegal and they can experience severe trauma and irreparable damage when temperatures reach certain levels (85 degrees outside is 119 degrees in a vehicle). Please keep the pets of our community safe and report any animals under dangerous conditions.”