The BC SPCA is inviting animal lovers around the province to participate in a campaign to raise awareness around the dangers of leaving your pet alone in your car on a hot summer day.
Those who take the “No Hot Pets” pledge are asked to not only keep their pets safe this summer but to also warn others about the hazards of leaving animals alone in vehicles.
“The death of a pet left in a hot car is a completely preventable tragedy, and by taking the BC SPCA pledge people can help us raise awareness and save lives,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communications for the BC SPCA.
According to Chortyk, the BC SPCA receives nearly 1,000 calls each year to rescue animals left inside vehicles on hot days.
“We know that people love their pets and would never knowingly put them in danger, but many pet guardians are just unaware of how quickly their pets can suffer when left in a vehicle in warm weather,” said Chortyk. “Even parked in the shade, with windows cracked open, the temperatures inside a vehicle can become deadly.”
She added that dogs don’t sweat like humans do and can’t release heat from their bodies at the same rate, and are more susceptible to succumbing to heatstroke and heat exhaustion in a shorter period of time.
“Signs of heatstroke include exaggerated panting, rapid or erratic pulse, salivating, anxious or staring expression, weakness or lack of coordinated, vomiting, convulsions and collapse,” she said.
The BC SPCA recommends taking the following steps if you spot a dog left alone in a car on a hot day:
- If the animal is showing clear signs of heatstroke or distress, call your local animal control agency, police, RCMP or the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722. Do not attempt to break a window to rescue an animal – not only do you risk injuring the animal, but only RCMP, local police and BC SPCA Special Constables have the authority to enter a vehicle lawfully to help an animal.
- If the animal is not in distress, but you are concerned, note the license plate and vehicle description and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately. You may wish to stay with the vehicle to monitor the situation until the owner returns.
Pet owners can take the “No Hots Pledge” at spca.bc.ca/nohotpets.
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