It takes only 10 minutes in a hot car for a dog to suffer serious injury.

It takes only 10 minutes in a hot car for a dog to suffer serious injury.

Dogs and hot cars don’t mix

If the sun is shining, leave Fido at home

  • May. 25, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Terry Farrell

Record staff

 

As the days get longer and the temperature rises, the issue of pets in distress becomes prevalent.

In the first half of May, the BC SPCA responded to 151 complaints of dogs left in hot cars. It’s a disturbing spike in numbers over the same period in 2015, when 114 calls were received.

Comox Valley SPCA manager Emily Priestley said the problem exists in the Valley, the same as anywhere else.

“I can’t give you exact (local) numbers…, but when it’s hot out, we get calls on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s very, very common.”

According to the BC SPCA, 10 minutes is all it takes for your dog to become overheated and distressed on a warm day. Even parked in the shade, with the windows rolled down slightly, is not enough to alleviate the problem.

“My recommendation is, if the sun is shining, don’t do it,” said Priestley. “It’s really hard, because the inside temperature of the car is going to be hotter than outside.”

Empowering bylaw in Nanaimo

Last summer, Nanaimo passed a bylaw amendment allowing for a $500 fine to be issued for anyone leaving a pet in a vehicle with an internal temperature exceeding 23C. (Heat guns are used to determine the interior temperature of vehicles.)

In Nanaimo, a bylaw officer coming across a pet in distress will contact animal control, as well as RCMP, and all three agencies have the option to write a $500 ticket, meaning delinquent pet owners could be faced with $1,500 in fines for leaving Fido in the car while they do their errands. They can also take immediate action to alleviate the situation.

“If it goes above [23C], the control officer has the right to remove the animals [by whatever means necessary],” said Priestley.

She added the current local bylaws are not nearly as empowering for authorities as what Nanaimo has adopted.

“Where it gets tricky for us, is we are not legally allowed to enter a vehicle. RCMP can, but we can’t. So when we attend, we basically just monitor the situation, but if we think the animal is going into distress then we would have to call the RCMP. Our cruelty investigators could enter a vehicle but I believe they have to have a search warrant to do so. So municipalities where such bylaws are enacted, that’s really helpful, because it gives the animal control guy, or the bylaw officer, the ability to go into the car and remove the animal. A lot of the time that involves breaking windows.”

The NDP proposed new legislation in Victoria earlier this month, allowing municipalities more power when dealing with the situation.

Priestley said the best thing to do if you see an animal in distress is to call the cruelty hotline call centre at 1-855-622-7722 (1-855 -6BCSPCA).

“We know this is a passive act – people are not trying to hurt their animals, they think it is harmless, but they just don’t realize. We see these animals go from being OK, and panting, and able to cool themselves – from that to being in distress and close to collapsing very, very quickly.

“We know that people are not doing this because they want to cause harm to their pet, but we also know that it’s not OK. It’s important to get that message out.”

Priestley said while she has not had firsthand experience dealing with a pet that perished as a result of overheating in a car, it has happened in B.C. – most notably in May of 2014, when six dogs perished in the back of a pick-up left in a parking lot in Burnaby. Emma Paulson pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the case and was sentenced to six months in jail.

More tips from SPCA

Heatstroke symptoms in dogs: exaggerated panting, bright red gums, rapid or erratic pulse, thick saliva, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting, collapse, seizures or coma.

 

Emergency  treatment: Do not apply ice, which constricts blood flow and inhibits cooling.  Take the animal to a vet as soon as possible for treatment.  In the meantime, wet the dog with cool water around the head and on the pads of the feet. If it is 26C outside, inside a car –  even with the windows cracked – the temperature can reach 37 degrees.

 

 

If you see an animal in a hot car on a warm day, please ask stores to page customers.  If you believe the animal is in distress, please call the hotline at 1-855-622-7722.

 

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

Just Posted

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

This spring will be a time of transition for Island Voices chamber… Continue reading

From left—Rev. Ryan Slifka (minister, St. George’s); Ellen Wise (elder, St. George’s); Evangeline Mathura, (vice-president, Dawn to Dawn); Grant Shilling (outreach worker, Dawn to Dawn), with a cheque for $10,433.15.
Courtenay church donates more than $10,000 to transitional housing and support service

St. Goerge’s presents Dawn to Dawn with $10,433.15 cheque

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Have you ever endured a bout of food poisoning? If you remember… Continue reading

Inside the new shop operated by Wachiay Friendship Centre. Jared Kotyk (left), Jan Kotyk, Paloma Joy, Tim Gagnon, Jonah Hill, Jennifer Corbett and Tally, the shop dog. Photo supplied
Wachiay opens store-front arts shop in downtown Courtenay

There’s still tailor-work in the back of old AnnSew site, with the store in front

CSWM is planning to increase the space for loading bays at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre. Record file photo
CSWM plans increase to number of Comox Valley landfill bays

The expansion prompted in part by COVID-19 spacing requirements

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Most Read