TULSA, Oklahoma - Zoos across the country are having a problem with people visiting and leaving their pets in hot cars in the parking lot.

We wanted to know what zoo employees, or just regular citizens, are allowed to do when faced with such a situation.

The zoo is a great summer activity for families, but it’s not a place for pets, and neither is the parking lot.

Dr. Kay Backues, Tulsa Zoo Director of Animal Health said, "Your dog can die in just 20 minutes."

Even if it's only 70 or 80 outside, the inside of the car can be 90 to 100 degrees within an hour; and with Oklahoma's 100-degree days, temperatures can soar far above that.

And, cracking your windows does nothing.

Backues said, "Instead of 120 degrees in your car, it might be, after 40 minutes, 117, and your dog is still dead."

She said leaving the air conditioner running isn't a sure deal because it can fail or the dog can push against the buttons.

Dogs can't sweat so they pant, but panting doesn't work once they reach a certain temperature.

"The dogs gonna pant until he becomes unconscious," Backues said.

Next is cardiovascular shock and death.

So the question becomes, can someone break the window to rescue an animal in duress? The police department says you don't want that kind of liability, so it’s better to call 911.

Corporal Jason Muse said, “You have to be very careful that you don't do more harm when forcing entry than good, trying to save them."

Police say it’s better to notify the business owner and try to find the owner.

Most people don't mean harm they just don't realize how quickly things can go wrong.