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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Conservation Officers seek public assistance

A mule deer buck was poached within Elkford town limits

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Editorial – Voters think little of political opportunism

John Horgan is playing a very cynical game with his own government’s health message

Annual Elk Valley Pride Festival paints the town rainbow

Festivities began with a spirited Pride Bike Parade and flag raising ceremony

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Most Read