Rise in Temperatures Marks Rise in Numbers of Dogs Left in Hot Cars.
Last May bank holiday weekend saw more than 200 calls to the RSPCA about dogs left in hot cars – this equates to three calls every hour and suggests that many dog owners are still not getting the message.
It is complete madness to consider leaving a dog in a car for even a few minutes. Even with windows left partially open, temperatures in cars can rise in a matter of a few short minutes. This leave the dogs inside open to extreme danger and often, death.
On sunny days it is better to leave your dog at home, rather than risk his life. Even travelling in a car can be risky, if there is no air conditioning.
What can you do if you see a dog left in a hot car?
If you spot a dog locked in a vehicle and in distress, the first thing to do is call 999 and report it to the police. The RSPCA should also be called, but they may not be able to be on the scene quickly enough. In addition, they will need a police officer present to assist with powers of entry. The 24 hour cruelty line for the RSPCA is 0300 1234 999.
If the car is parked at an event, make a note of the registration number and find a steward who can put out a notice over the tannoy system. Similarly, if the car situated in a shopping centre or town, ask nearby shops if they can announce the registration number of the vehicle in their store and a request for the owner to return.
Many people instinctively want to break a car window if they see a dog in distress in a hot car. However, be aware this could be classed as criminal damage, for which you could be liable. If you feel this is your only course of action because you feel the dog is at deaths door (i.e. drooling, lethargic, passed out, vomiting), then you must inform the police of your intentions. Take photo’s, or video footage and write down the names and telephone numbers of witnesses, before you attempt to break into a vehicle.
The law specifically states that a person has lawful excuse to commit damage if they believe the owner of the property, so damaged, would consent to that damage if they knew the circumstances. This is a tricky one, though. If you do not know the person who owns the car, you cannot possibly know whether they would consent to you committing damage. On the other hand, it very much depends whether you are willing to risk court action from the owner, in order to save the dog.
A car left in direct sunlight can exceed 50 degrees in two minutes and by the time ten minutes have passed, 70 degrees. This can be lethal for the dog trapped inside. Not only this, it is an agonizing death. If a dog dies from being left in a hot car owners can expect to face a six month prison sentence. In addition, there could be a hefty fine under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
Please share this article with everyone you know. It is completely avoidable and there is absolutely NO excuse for owners to allow this to happen.
Dogs DO die in hot cars. Don’t let it happen to yours.