While the heat wave has been great for people, it’s nearly been deadly for too many dogs trapped in hot vehicles in Langley, say police and animal welfare officials.
“We’ve had more than 30 calls of hot dogs. It’s very time consuming for our officers, it takes up police resources and it’s all preventable,” said Langley Animal Protection Society’s Jayne Nelson, manager of animal welfare.
“Somehow, some people still think it’s OK to leave their animals in a car. But even with the windows down, parked in the shade, minutes left alone is too much, with car temperatures easily reaching above 30 degrees.”
One recent call sent LAPS officers to an incident where an older dog was trapped inside a boiling hot car.
“The officer measured the temperature in the vehicle to 36 degrees,” said Nelson. “It took our officer an hour to find the owner.”
While the act of leaving a dog in a hot vehicle amounts to animal cruelty, animal welfare societies across the Lower Mainland are not recommending criminal charges or fines at this time but education instead.
“We do often involve the RCMP which is a drain on their resources too. But we mostly try to educate people about the dangers of bringing their pets along in their day-to-day chores and travels. It is tragic to see an animal in distress like that.
“It’s unkind. Your pets would much rather be at home,” Nelson said.
TAKE THE NO HOT PETS PLEDGE
She’s inviting everyone to take the Nohotpets.ca pledge, which asks people to sign up to promise never to leave a dog inside a vehicle unattended.
The website, created by Ontario SPCA, offers fast facts about how quickly a dog can get overheated because they don’t have the ability to sweat like humans do.
Langley RCMP Cpl. Holly Largy said they’ve had at least 38 complaints of hot dogs since June.
Of those calls, several have been cancelled en route because the owner has returned to the vehicle or by the time police arrive, the owner has left the parking lot.
Largy urges pet owners to leave their dogs at home.
Delta dog walker Emma Paulsen was sentenced to six months in jail for leaving six dogs in her care to die inside a closed canopy in the back of her pickup truck.
She claimed the animals had been stolen from the Brookswood off-leash dog park but, in fact, they had all died and she dumped them in a ditch in Abbotsford.
Police and LAPS recommend that anyone who sees a dog in distress in a hot vehicle, first attempt to find the owner by going into the neighbouring businesses and asking them to page the vehicle description and licence plate. If that doesn’t work, call the Langley RCMP non-emergency line at 604-532-3200 or call LAPS at 604-857-5055.
Take the no hot dog pledge at nohotpets.ca.
TIPS TO HELP A DOG WITH HEATSTROKE:
If a dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should do the following:
• Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place;
• Wet the dog with cool water;
• Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature;
• Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling. Allow the dog to drink some cool water (or to lick ice cream if no water is available);
• Take the dog to a veterinarian.