Dr. Renee Ferguson visited with Kyah, a chocolate lab rescued by Langley Animal Protection Society, is now happy in a forever home. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Vet challenges Langley businesses to become pet-friendly

Free signs help identify local stores and offices as a safe place to take dogs during hot weather.

Local businesses are once again being asked to take part in a pet program aimed at keeping animals – typically dogs – out of hot cars.

Dr. Renee Ferguson, of Mountain View Veterinary Hospital, is again challenging fellow business owners to pay heed to the dangers by offering free signs that help identify new pet-friendly businesses.

Last year, Ferguson kicked off a Keep Pets Cool This Summer campaign, and offered free signs to business owners. They invite customers to bring their pet inside the designated businesses, instead of leaving them in the car.

“We provide these stickers free to businesses because if even one tragedy can be avoided, the cost is more than worth it,” said Ferguson, who asks people to think what it would be like to endure summer heat in a fur coat.

“Every summer we see needless pet fatalities caused by people leaving them in a hot car,” she said.

It is an extremely dangerous situation because animals can suffer heat stroke, brain damage, and even die in a matter of minutes if left in a hot car.

Most people are surprised by how hot it can get in a vehicle in just a few minutes, even on a warm day, she explained.

“A car on a hot day is no place for your pet,” Ferguson emphasized. “My best advice is to leave pets at home with plenty of cool water, access to cooler parts of your home, and leave a fan running.”

But admittedly, it’s not always possible, and her campaign to see more businesses identify as pet-friendly could prove essential for those pets that can’t be left at home.

“While leaving pets at home is the best option, we realize that it is not always possible,” Ferguson elaborated. “Pets are an important part of families and it is great to see businesses be more accommodating of people’s lifestyle.”

So, she’s inviting other business owners, like herself, to consider designating their stores and shops pet-friendly and grabbing one of the free 8” X 11” window clinging signs from her clinic on Willowbrook Drive or the Langley Animal Protection Society’s Patti Dale Animal Shelter, 26220 56th Ave. in Aldergrove.

“On every hot day, we hear of some incident in Langley where a pet has been left in a hot car. While most of these don’t end in tragedy, the risk is not worth it,” Ferguson said. She looks forward to a time when such cases are a thing of the past.

In the meantime, she also offered a few tips for people who spot a pet in a hot car.

“You are NOT allowed to break into a vehicle to rescue a pet,” she emphasized.

Instead, she asked that people record vehicle information, ask nearby stores to page customers, and if the animal appears to be in distress, to call Langley Animal Protection Society at 604-857-5055, the BC SPCA Animal Cruelty Hotline at 1-855-622-7722, or the Langley RCMP non-emergency line at 604-532-3200.

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