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      Emergency dispatchers: dogs left in cars, alcohol complaints on the rise

      Summer is a long time coming for those living in northern Michigan, and it seems like it's here to stay.

      For those who answer the phone when you call 911, they don't have to look at the calendar. They just have to listen to the people on the other end of the line.

      Emergency dispatchers say with the warmer weather, the number of calls have increased regarding dogs left in cars, alcohol complaints and items being taken from cars.

      â??It's warm outside. They have the windows down they're not thinking about securing their vehicles. We're a small northern Michigan town and people aren't taking the steps to protect themselves,â?? said Vance Stringham, Grand Traverse County Dispatch Supervisor.

      Dispatchers say it doesn't matter where you live.

      â??Even in the more rural areas that's where a lot of our problems come in. People live some place off the beaten path. They think they're safe. They leave their car unlocked and people are still going around looking and they'll find and take advantage of it.â??

      Calls are also coming in from people who see dogs sitting in hot cars. Dispatchers say about 15 to 20 of these calls come through their office every day.

      â??Best advice is don't bring your dog with you. I understand sometimes you can't leave the dog home alone but there are alternatives out there other than leaving your dog in a hot car.â??

      With the warm weather dispatchers have also seen an increase in drunk driving complaints, along with fights and parties involving alcohol.

      â??Your typical alcohol stuff with the warm weather seems to bring it out more because people are able to get outside and enjoy.â??

      911 dispatchers have been keeping their 24,000 Facebook fans updated on these issues, which gives people the chance to interact with staff and other people in the community.

      â??It's been really gratifying that the community has interacted with us and engaged with our employees here. It's a great tool for us to use to let people know what's going on and to help them understand what we do at 911,â?? said Jamel Anderson, Grand Traverse County Dispatch Director.

      â??Thankfully we have not had anything in our circles would be particularly noteworthy yet but summer is young,â?? said Stringham.

      Dispatchers say you should call the non-emergency line at (231) 922-4550 and not take matters into your hands if you see a pet inside a car. Criminal charges could be filed against those people who leave their pets in the car.