WOODBRIDGE — House Republican Leader Themis Klarides on Monday joined officials from this community and others to kick off an awareness and response campaign that will have business owners help remind people about the dangers of leaving children and pets unattended inside their vehicles when it’s warm outside.
The “Heat Kills” campaign, unveiled at a Town Hall news conference, will see business owners put stickers in their shop windows that remind customers: “if you love’em, don’t leave’em.” The stickers direct residents to contact Woodbridge Animal Control if they see a child or pet unattended in a vehicle.
“We’re here in a unified fight for the defenseless—it takes just a few minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to skyrocket, sometimes causing tragedies that are entirely preventable,” said Klarides, who serves the 114th House District covering Woodbridge, Derby and a section of Orange. “By partnering with businesses, places where we all go day in and day out, we’ll be able to get this important message to so many more people.”
Ellen Scalettar, first selectman in Woodbridge, hailed the partnership between several communities
“Woodbridge is happy to participate in the ‘Heat Kills’ campaign,” she said. “So many groups—Woodbridge District Animal Control, the Woodbridge Police Department, the Woodbridge business community and our partners in Bethany and Derby—are working together to spread this message to help keep children and animals safe.”
The program launched in Woodbridge is modeled after one started earlier this year in Fairfield by state Rep. Brenda Kupchick and supported by that community’s police department.
“I’m thrilled to see another town pick this up and, really, the goal would be to see every town pick this up,” said Kupchick, whose effort in Fairfield was inspired by the heat-related death of a baby in Ridgefield last year.
Beth Heller, deputy first selectman in Woodbridge, was at the news conference and recounted the case of a dog two years ago that died after being left in a car here for two hours.
Also looking to prevent that type of tragedy is Seymour, which is considering launching a program and was represented Monday by Deputy First Selectman Nicole Klarides-Ditria. Derby’s Chief of Police, Gerald Narowski, was at the “Heat Kills” kick-off as well as Woodbridge police officer Joseph Kubik. Bethany’s State Representative, Lezlye Zupkus, was at the event too.
“The only way we make this better is by doing it together,” Rep. Themis Klarides said.
Any business owner who wants a sticker should call Woodbridge Animal Control at 203-389-5991.