If you think it’s OK to leave your dog in a hot car while you run in a store for a few minutes — don’t do it.

That’s the advice of Brownwood animal control officer Nick Ferguson, who said animal control has responded to several cases of dogs being left in parked, hot vehicles.

It takes only minutes for a vehicle to heat up to the point that it endangers the dog, and someone could face a charge of animal cruelty, Ferguson said. Even with windows open, a parked car can quickly become a furnace, he said.

“A dog can be put in distress in a matter of minutes,” he said.

Ferguson cited a couple of recent examples. A husband and wife left their small dog in their car at Wal-Mart for at least 20 minutes on a recent afternoon. Someone called animal control, and Wal-Mart paged the owners, Ferguson said.

The owners were shocked when they got to their car, and the dog was panting heavily and salivating, Ferguson said. The owners said they had picked the dog up at a veterinarian’s office and had stopped at Wal-Mart to buy dog food. “They didn’t think it was a big deal” to leave the dog in the car, Ferguson said.

In a less severe case, animal control was called after someone left a dog in a car at the Texas Workforce Commission for a few minutes, Ferguson said.

With an outside temperature of 72 to 96 degrees, the temperature in an enclosed vehicle will rise by an average of 19 degrees in 19 minutes, 29 degrees in 20 minutes, 34 degrees in 30 minutes, 43 degrees in 60 minutes and 45-50 degrees in one to two hours, Furgason said.