SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - With heat and humidity on the rise in Illinois, it's important for people to think of their pets.
"Nobody likes to be outside when it's like this. It's certainly humid. You need a drink of water, and you need to stay hydrated," Humane Investigator with the Department of Agriculture, Liz Egizii, said. "The same goes for your pets. Leaving pets outside with just a dish of water isn't enough in heat like this, especially for senior pets, puppies or dogs that have medical issues."
Egizii has been a humane investigator for the past four years.
"I've investigated probably in the last four weeks, probably 20 different situations with dogs," Egizii said.
With in the past week, Egizii said she's helped rescue a dog and four puppies from extreme temperatures.
"[The dog] was outside all the time. There was very little water and a black tarp over the top of her, so it was almost as if she was baking. They ended up surrendering the dog, and we got her immediately to the vet," Egizii said. "We took four puppies out of rabbit hutch that were in a extreme heat with no water."
Egizii is also the president of W.I.L.D. Canine Rescue, and she said pet owners can easily spot the signs of an animal suffering from heat exhaustion.
"There's excessive panting, lethargy, inability to move around ... the gums can turn very pale," Egizii said.
Sangamon County Sheriff Jack Campbell said if the sheriff's office responds to a report of animal left outside in the heat, people could face a hefty fine.
"The penalty can run from a verbal warning, clear up to a felony," Campbell said. "It could be an ordinance violation, which could be up to a $250 fine. Of course misdemeanors, the Class A maximum fine would be $2,500."
If it's not OK for a person to spend a long period of time outside, Egizii said, remember it's not okay for a pet.
"Make your pet a part of your family, not somebody you leave outside and don't pay attention to," Egizii said. "If you don't want your pet, there are places you can take them to, and we will take good care of them."
The four puppies that were rescued from the rabbit hutch are now available for adoption on W.I.L.D. Canine Rescue's website.