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Bonnie Learning
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SPCA warns dog owners to leave their animals at home in hot weather

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA is warning dog owners of the dangers of leaving their animals in hot vehicles for any amount of time. They are urging pet owners to keep their dogs at home while running errands, and ask people to contact the SPCA or their local police detachment if they see an animal in distress in a hot car. (For the record, the two dogs in the picture are owned by TC senior reporter Bonnie Learning, and was taken for illustrative purposes only. She never takes them around on hot days, ever).

The Happy Valley-Goose Bay SPCA is warning dog owners in Labrador to leave their four-legged friends at home in hot temperatures.

The warning comes after several news items as of late, regarding dogs being left in vehicles on a hot day. Just two weeks ago in St. John’s, a small dog was rescued from a hot car in the parking lot of Costco, after a police officer busted out the window.

“Common sense should tell someone that leaving a dog in a vehicle on a hot day is not right,” said Lee Hill, president of the HV-GB SPCA.

“Unfortunately, some people still don’t see anything wrong or dangerous in taking their dog with them while running errands or whatever, on a 20+ to 30+ degree day.”

Hill believes many people are of the mistaken notion that leaving a couple of windows down even a few inches, is enough to keep their animal cool for an indefinite period of time.

“Even on a somewhat cool summer day, temperatures in parked vehicles can become dangerous in a manner of minutes, never mind a 30+ degree day,” said Hill.

If a dog has only hot air to breathe, it’s normal cooling process — panting — doesn’t work, noted Hill.

“They can die within minutes from heat exhaustion,” she said, noting they would exhibit symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, lack of coordination, glazed eyes, weakness or muscle tremors, convulsions or vomiting, or unconsciousness, before succumbing to the heat.

Hill said if anyone should ever see an animal in distress in a vehicle, their first point of contact should be their local RCMP or RNC detachment.

“They are mandated to uphold the provincial Animal Protection Act, so they should respond to such a call,” said Hill.

She noted if someone is not comfortable calling the police, they can contact the SPCA at 896-7387 and/or take a picture with their cell phone of the dog in the vehicle, as well as the license plate, which would be useful information for both the SPCA and police for follow-up in case the owner leaves the scene before the police arrives.

She also encourages people to leave their dogs at home when running errands — with access to shade and cold water — adding if it’s too hot for humans, that goes for dogs, too.

“Someone certainly wouldn’t leave a child in a hot vehicle on purpose, and the same goes for dogs.”


Organizations: Goose Bay SPCA, Costco, RCMP

Geographic location: Happy Valley, Labrador

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