Every year I hear about dogs that have suffered or even died after being left unattended in a hot car! This makes me very, very angry and upset…and is something that should never happen!
In 2015 the AA patrols had to attend to over a 1,000 incidents of pets locked alone in cars; heaven knows how many calls the police and the RSPCA received. This means there are a lot of uneducated humans out there and it’s our job, (yes…you and me) to bark very loudly and make it loud and clear that leaving any animal unattended in a vehicle is behaviour that will not be tolerated!
Some humans seem to think it is acceptable to leave us alone in a vehicle whilst they pop out to run errands. This is NOT acceptable, not even for ‘just a minute’. Temperatures inside a car are much much higher than those outside. On a 78-degree day the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. (Source PETA). In just a short time we will be suffering from dehydration and heatstroke. In just 15 minutes we could suffer brain damage or be dead!
Advice for humans – What to do if you see a dog in a hot car!
Do your best to try and diagnose the dog’s condition. Are there signs of heatstroke i.e. drooling, heavy pantings or diarrhoea. Do they appear drowsy or lethargic? Have they collapsed? If so get help immediately.
Be aware that some dogs are territorial and standing too close to the vehicle may cause them more distress.
Try to find out how long the dog has been left alone; there maybe someone around to ask. If the car is in a car park check the ticket for the time.
Try to locate the owner. If you’re at an event/supermarket/ department store ask the staff to put out an announcement. Search the area as best you can without straying too far from the dog. Don’t be afraid to ask people to help you!
Make a note of the car’s colour, model, make and registration number. (If the owner does return you may still feel the dog was in danger. Report them to the police).
Call the police.
If you feel you need to break into the car take a few precautions to justify your actions. Get a witness or several including their name and address to vouch for your assessment of the situation. If you have a mobile phone take photographs and videos. Inform the police of your actions.
The law is rather grey over this and you could be liable. However, it does state …..’that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances’ (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971.
Please don’t leave the dog alone until the situation has been resolved!
Once you’ve accessed the vehicle check the dog for signs of heat stroke; these include restlessness, excessive thirst, thick saliva, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and lack of coordination.
Dogs with heatstroke urgently require their body temperature to be lowered gradually.
Move the dog into a cool & shaded area. Douse with cool water (to avoid shock do not use cold or iced water). Wet towels can also be applied. The dog could also be placed by a fan. Continue until breathing settles, but not to the point where the dog starts to shiver.
Allow the dog to drink small, cool amounts of water.
Take the dog to the vets for urgent medical attention!
Thanks to our pals Winston and Humphrey Brough for their campaign poster.
Take Care this Summer – Woofs Gizmo – BB Repawter