North Vancouver’s RCMP department said it has received its first complaint of the year about a dog being left alone in a hot vehicle, reportedly from a witness who saw the incident.
“We dispatched officers to the scene but the vehicle in question was gone on our arrival,” said North Vancouver RCMP Sgt. Peter DeVries. “No license plate was provided by the complainant, and with no further avenues of investigation the file was concluded.”
Still, the incident serves as a reminder that with the weather warming up, pets should never be left alone in hot cars, for any reason.
“For a dog, harmful, and even life-threatening effects can occur in a short time in a hot car,” says the BC SPCA on its website. “Dogs can’t release heat by sweating, as humans do, so their internal body temperature rises more quickly.”
There are things you can do to help, though, and the organization’s website also provides instructions on what you should do if you see a distressed dog in a car:
- Write down the licence plate, car colour, model, and make information, and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately.
- If symptoms of a heat stroke are more severe, call your local animal control agency, police, RCMP, or the BC SPCA Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 as soon as possible.
- Keep a kit in your car containing bottled water, a battery-powered fan, and wet towel in case you spot an animal in distress.
- If a window is partially open, hydrate the animal as you wait for emergency response.
Additionally, the website also states what you shouldn’t do.
- Do not break the window to get the pet out. Only the RCMP, local police, and BC SPCA Special Constables have the authority to do that.
- Do not leave the air conditioning on. The pet could still end up at risk if the air conditioning stopped working, it’s not a guaranteed solution.
To keep informed on how to prevent your dogs from having a heatstroke, visit the BC SPCA website.