The BC SPCA received around 1,000 reports of pets locked in hot cars in 2017. (Pexels)

Don’t play the odds with your pets

BC SPCA asks people to leave pets at home, not in their cars

Hot weather is expected this week and as temperatures reach the high teens and 20s, pet owners are being reminded to leave their furry loved ones at home when going out in their vehicle.

With close to 1,000 cases of pets being left inside hot vehicles across B.C. in 2017, the BC SPCA finds itself continually having to remind people about the dangers of leaving animals in cars — even if you think it’s only for a short time.

“Please, leave your pets at home,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “You might just be running into the store for a moment, but then there’s a line up or something else and that turns into five, 10 or even 15 minutes.”

She said it takes as little as 10 minutes in a hot car for a pet — quite often a dog — to suffer brain damage, organ damage and even death. Thankfully, Chortyk said, only one of those estimated 1,000 cases resulted in a pet dying.

However, she encourages people not to play the odds. And each time there’s a spike in temperature, the BC SPCA puts out the now-familiar warning that the weather can risk the lives of people’s pets if they accompany them in their vehicles.

“People don’t seem to get the message,” said Chortyk, adding that may be because people have done it in the past and nothing happened to their pet.

“People forget, or they’ve done it before and nothing happened. But no one wants to play Russian Roulette with their pets.”

Chortyk said pets do not perspire the same way humans do. It’s mainly through their paws, so regulating their heat inside a hot car is almost impossible — even if the vehicle is parked in the shade, the windows are cracked and there’s a dish of water inside.

The best thing people can do, she continued, is leave their pets at home when you know it’s going to be warm or hot outside. If they do, they could run afoul of B.C.’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Chortyk pointed to a well-publicized case a few years ago of the Act being applied when a dog walker in Vancouver left animals in a hot vehicle and six died. The individual got six months in jail. Chortyk recalls another incident where someone left their dog in their car when they went into an airport to pick someone up. The flight was delayed and by the time they returned to their vehicle, the dog was dead.

Chortyk said no one wants to lose their pets that way, so why take the risk?

As more people become aware of animals in distress during warm weather, Chortyk said they are reporting it more and more often to the SPCA or local police. The BC SPCA has a toll-free hotline — 1-855-622-7722 — for people to call when they find an animal locked in a car in the heat.

The BC SPCA does not advise people to break windows in vehicles to rescue animals, but instead to call the number and determine if an animal is in distress. If it is, Chortyk said they can direct people on how to help and who to call. Causing damage to vehicles puts people on the wrong side of the law, she explained. Asking local police to respond when animal control officers or SPCA employee are not available, is a better option.

To prevent the problem in the first place, Chortyk said there are resources — such as posters and cards people can leave on windshields — available at www.spca.bc.ca

Chortyk said more information about an issue that’s “one hundred per cent preventable” can help save animals — even if it’s one life.

Just Posted

‘Summer from hell’: vandals rob community garden following devastating wildfire season

The community rallied to keep the Health Minds Community Garden open in Fort St. James

College of New Caledonia offers new automotive glass technician program

The program is offered mainly online, allowing more students to take part from across the north

Decision on Burns Lake’s workforce camp “pending very soon”: Coastal GasLink

Meetings to discuss new camp location postponed due to wildfire situation

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read