As the sun shines and the mercury rises, dog owners are being reminded of their responsibilities to ensure the welfare of their pets.
With summer well and truly here, the RSPCA is once again highlighting the danger of leaving a dog in a car on a warm day.
There is a misconception that leaving the windows open or parking in the shade is ok. However, the charity says that a temperature of just 22C can feel as hot as 47C in a car within an hour – conditions likely to prove fatal for a dog.
The RSPCA is also urging members of the public who spot a dog in distress to dial 999 immediately.
What to do if you see a dog in a car on a warm day
In an emergency, the RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough, and with no powers of entry, officers would need police assistance.
Instead, you should call the police, who will inform the RSPCA if animal welfare assistance is required.
Help a dog in a hot car
The RSPCA says you should first establish the animal’s condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 Immediately.
If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why, and take images of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property would consent if they knew the circumstances.
You can call the RSPCA’s cruelty line for advice any time on 0300 1234 999. However, if the dog is in danger, dialing 999 should always be the first step.
In 2016, the RSPCA received 7,187 calls about animals in hot environments – the majority of which were regarding dogs.
Leaving a dog in a hot car is deemed animal neglect under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.
“A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22C, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47C within the hour.”
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