WITH the summer now in full swing the RSPCA is urging people to remember that Dogs Die in Hot Cars.
And the charity’s message could not be better timed, following drama at Solihull Retail Park at the weekend where a dog was left to bake in a car on one of the hottest days of the year for over an hour.
The incident unfolded shortly before lunchtime on Sunday when shoppers and staff at the nearby Pets at Home store noticed the dog – believed to be a Pomeranian – was locked in the car, in full sunlight and with no windows open or water to drink.
Staff from the store – including the in-house vet closely monitored the dog for any signs of distress and heatstroke.
The police were also called to monitor the situation.
Eventually the owner of the dog turned up and was spoken to by the police while the Pets at Home vet checked over the dog – which remarkably was in good health.
“It was a really distressing situation for everyone involved, but we were monitoring the dog very closely to check it was OK,” said a spokesperson for Pets at Home.
“Thankfully the dog was in good health and the owner got a talking too from the police – but we can’t stress enough the importance of not leaving dogs in hot cars for any amount of time – let alone over an hour.
“Everyone was really upset.”
But the story could have been so very different.
Just last month, RSPCA inspector Anthony Joynes left a thermometer in his van in 15C heat – significantly lower than Sunday’s temperatures over over 20C – and left it for an hour to see what temperature it would reach inside his vehicle.
Within just 60 minutes, the temperature had climbed to 43.5C.
Inspector Joynes said: “If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke – such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting – call 999 immediately.”
He added that if the situation becomes critical and police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog.
But he urged people to be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage.
“Make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses.
“The law states 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.
“Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area and douse him/her with cool water. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
“If the dog isn’t displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long the dog has been in the car and make a note of the registration.
“If you are near a store, ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition.
“You can call our 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, in a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.”
The RSPCA relies on public donations to exist.
Text HELP to 78866 to give £3 to the cause.
It is not just cars that can heat up quickly and kill dogs – caravans, conservatories and outbuildings with no breeze can have the same effect.
The best way to care for your dog in the hot summer is to walk them early and late in the day, or find somewhere cool such as a sheltered woodland with access to a river or stream.
Make sure they have plenty of water and if they do get too hot, cover them in a cold, damp towel.
If you do see a dog in distress and you have to act quickly to break the window and rescue it – make sure you call the police first and take photographic evidence/video and names of witnesses to protect yourself legally.
The law states 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.