The deaths of two dogs left in hot cars over the past week has animal-control officials warning motorists to leave their dogs at home during these hot summer days.

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The deaths of two dogs left in hot cars over the past week have animal-control officials warning motorists to leave their dogs at home during these hot summer months.

On Thursday, a black lab died after being left for several hours in a car on Bainbridge Island.

Last Sunday, a pit bull died after being left in its owners’ car while they were at Seattle Hempfest.

“People need to know that this is a crime,” said Don Jordan, head of Seattle Animal Control. “We get hundreds of calls during the summer of dogs locked in cars.”

He said those convicted of dog deaths in such cases face up to 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.

In the Bainbridge Island case, the dog’s owner told police she had forgotten she had left her dog in the stiflingly hot car for some time.

The temperature outside ranged from 70 to 80 degrees Thursday, but the temperature in the car ranged from 110 to 120 degrees and the windows were closed, according to Bainbridge police.

The woman told police she returned home about 11 a.m. and forgot the female dog, named Bear, had been in the car with her. She began searching for her dog several hours later and found her in the car.

Police believe the dog may have been in the car for four hours.

Sue Shultz, of the Bainbridge police, said, “It doesn’t take long to affect a dog in this heat.”

Police said the woman was “inconsolable” when she called them to say her dog was dead.

The Kitsap County Animal and Rescue enforcement office will investigate and may forward the case to the county prosecutor for possible charges.

The other case may also be sent to the City Attorney’s Office for possible charges against the pit bull’s owners.

In that case, the owners, realizing their dog was not allowed at the festival, said they put the dog in their car at 6 p.m. and when they returned to their car at 8 p.m. the dog was dead. Police say the dog may have been in the car much longer than the owners reported.

According to the police report, there were signs that the dog tried desperately to escape the car.

Police said the temperatures reached 81 degrees Sunday and the hottest time was late afternoon and early evening. The car was not parked in the shade, police said.

Jordan said the case of the pit bull was just one of five incidents where pets were left in cars at Hempfest. In the other cases, police were able to break into the cars and free the animals; two cases involved dogs, one a dog and a cat, and one a kitten.

Jordan said another dog died in a car in June and two springer spaniels died in a car near Green Lake last year.

“The safest thing is to leave pets at home,” he said. “What happens when the ambient temperature is in the 80s and the windows are cracked, animals can still overheat.”

He said it doesn’t take much for the inside of a car to reach 130 degrees, particularly if the vehicle is parked in the sun.

“A car can become 160 degrees in a matter of minutes, and dogs should never be left in the car,” said Rhonda Manville, director of marketing for the Seattle Humane Society. “It’s like putting a magnifying glass on your car. It’s just not safe.”

Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or sgilmore@seattletimes.com