LAPS animal control officer Chloe Buskell is often horrified when she rolls up on a call of an animal in distress because its been left in a hot car. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Langley shelter outraged as calls still coming for pets left in hot cars

Patti Dale Animal Shelter is overrun with dogs and cats, so holding an ‘adoption extravaganza.’

Jayne Nelson is moved to tears every time she talks about a dog that was killed last week by being left in a hot car in the Port Coquitlam.

Worse, she can’t believe she and her team at the Langley Animal Protection Society continue to receive multiple calls a week about dogs being left in a vehicle in this sweltering summer heat.

“It is upsetting to see that there are still calls coming in about pets being left in hot cars, in spite of that story,” Nelson said.

“It is something that is very concerning to our staff, and in particular our animal control officers who attend the calls,” she added, always shocked by the fact that people can treat a member of their family in such a manner.

Jenny Ramirez applauds the very public reaction from a veterinarian to this most recent dog death.

“I so appreciate a veterinarian speaking out, as I believe that there are dog owners who do not understand that their dogs internal systems are different than ours,” Ramirez said.

“Based on a typical conversation our ACOs have with folks who have been reported to us, the most common response is that they were only in the store for five minutes and they were watching their vehicle.”

Ramirez said this is “never the case” as there is more than a five-minute time lapse for LAPS or RCMP to arrive and to find the vehicle.

Many times, they even have to add more time to the clock, as they canvas businesses for the car/dog owner, she explained.

“Many just don’t seem to a have realistic understanding that dogs cannot withstand the escalating temperature inside a vehicle,” she said.

“This type of education from the veterinary community may help owners understand that there is a difference, and therefore will make a better choice before they even leave the house.”

LAPS is currently participating in a “No Hot Pets” campaign, where people can go online and make a pledge never to leave their pet in a hot car – even for a minute.

Ramirez and Nelson were both anxious to sign up, and keen to build awareness to the dangers.

“We are asking pet owners to leave their pets at home anytime the temperature is 18 degrees or higher,” Nelson insisted.

Ramirez suggested that if pet owners aren’t going somewhere that is pet friendly or if it isn’t possible to leave pets at home, then bring a friend or family member along to wait in the car with the air conditioning running or have that friend or family member wait with the pet in the shade while the pet owner is in the store.

Nelson is anxious to be part of any official or unofficial campaigns aimed at waking up local pet owner up.

And, while there’s lots of attention being drawn to the matter as the temperatures remain high around the province, Nelson wants to also focus her team’s attention on what she calls some positive alternatives.

She wants to be part of basic education, but she also wants to encourage pet owners to not only leave their animals at home, but to consider providing them fun options for cooling down – like giving them a children’s swimming pool to play in, offering them a hose down every day – when it’s hot, or providing a shade bush or tree where it’s okay for the dog to dig and burrow into the cool dirt.

Sharing the sentiment of the BCSPCA, Nelson said “Hot pets are not cool.”

Adoption extravaganza

In the meantime, LAPS and the Patti Dale Animal Shelter is currently overrun with animals in need.

To that end, they are hosting a first-ever dog and cat “adoption extravaganza,” on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We’ve had our Kitten Palooza events in past, but this will be the first time they’re showcasing the cats and dogs in the shelter, plus many of the foster kittens, all at the same time,” Nelson said.

“We have a large number of animals in our care right now, 109 to be exact, and we’re hoping to find many of them their forever homes,” she added, admittedly shocked by the numbers of dogs currently in the shelter.

It will be an open house, with vendors on hand giving away product samples. There will be prizes, and most importantly, Nelson said, there will be a team of volunteers available to introduce people to all the animals available for adoption.

For more information, people can call the shelter at 604-857-5055 or visit the facility at 26220 56th Ave. in Aldergrove.

No Hot pets

Some pet owners don’t realized the following:

• A dog has a normal body temperature of about 39°C (102°F). Unlike people, a dog has a limited ability to sweat to cool off. So even a brief time in a hot environment can be life-threatening

• Even on a mild day, with the windows open and parked in the shade, the temperature in a vehicle can rapidly reach very dangerous levels.

• After reaching a body temperature of 41°C (106°F), it doesn’t take long for a pet to begin suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

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