People aren't the only ones feeling the heat.

Boulder police are noting an increase in the number of reports of dogs left in scorching cars. They're urging owners not to leave their pets behind in parking lots or risk being ticketed for doing so.

"Please do not leave your dog in a vehicle, even for a short period of time while running into the store or stopping for a bite to eat," said Janee Boswell, animal control supervisor for the Boulder Police Department.

Boswell said police have received eight to 20 such calls a day during the recent heat wave. Temperatures have gotten as high as 98 degrees in Boulder, and Boswell said that means cars can heat up to 140 to 160 degrees.

"Five to 10 minutes in these extreme temperatures we've had, and an animal can start to exhibit symptoms of heat stroke," Boswell said. Signs of heat stroke in dogs can include heavy panting, blue or pale gums and lethargy and, if gone untreated, it can lead to brain damage.

Owners can also be ticketed for subjecting animals to unnecessary suffering, which carries a maximum $999 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

A recent change to the ordinance now allows officers to ticket owners whose dogs are exhibiting any signs of hyperthermia. The ordinance previously allowed police to ticket owners only if their dogs were in "life-threatening" situations due to heat or cold.

Boswell said so far, police have been able to quickly find the owners in all their calls, and they had not issued any tickets this year as of Friday. Anyone who does see a dog they think might be in distress can call 303-441-3333 to report it to police.

In addition to changes in the law on ticketing dog owners who leave their pets in cars, the ordinance requiring people to provide their dogs water has also been amended to give officers more leeway in ticketing negligent owners.

Now, any confined or tethered animal must be provided clean water at all times. The previous ordinance only required owners to provide animals access to water in "sufficient quantity."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.