The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) launched a summer campaign to prevent people from keeping pets inside sweltering vehicles.
Hot and humid days can kill pets that are locked inside untended vehicles, said Ontario SPCA Inspector Brandon James.
The OSPCA launched last week its “No Hot Pets” campaign to remind pet owners not to leave their animals in a vehicle when temperatures soar, as Environment Canada expects in Southern Ontario during this Canada Day Weekend.
“When a dog is breathing in that hot air from that vehicle that is continuously rising in temperature it can’t cool itself, so the body will have to do something to preserve its life,” James said.
“The body starts shutting down different organs that are vital to that animal’s breathing and the heart rate going, the livers and kidneys and so on will start to suffer, and eventually that pet will succumb to that heat,” he said.
“Any length of time can be detrimental to that pet,” James said.
Leaving a pet in a vehicle could also lead to charges under the Ontario SPCA Act and under the Criminal Code with a fine up to $60,000 and/or two years in jail.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, and every single summer we hear every single excuse, there’s no reason for it and there’s no excuse for it, but people think their lives are busier and more important than the animal,” James said.
He said the OSPCA received 1,400 calls for pets left in vehicles last summer. That doesn’t include the calls to local bylaw agencies or police, or the incidents that weren’t reported, James said.
The Ontario SPCA, using the hashtag #nohotpets, took to social media to spread its message across Ontario, and has generated great amounts of discussion and support.
— Irene Preklet (@Irene680NEWS) June 12, 2017
— Sgt Kerry Schmidt (@OPP_HSD) June 18, 2018
Environment Canada reports the Canada Day long weekend in Toronto will range between 31 C and 36 C between Friday and Monday.
“When we’re dealing with temperatures that are even coming up this Canada day weekend, we’re going to have problems unfortunately where people are going to bring their pets with them to the cottages and the beach and think they can run in for some snacks or something like that,” James said. “It will only take a few minutes for the pet to suffer.”
The Ontario SPCA is also encouraging businesses to take part in the campaign by displaying reminders in their windows if pet owners can bring their animals inside their stores.
“Not allowing them to leave that pet in the vehicle and giving them that extra choice, they are finding their customers are much happier walking their dog into that establishment in order to alleviate that choice to leave that animal in that car,” James said.
Ontario SPCA encourages people to call them at 310-7722 or call local police if they see a pet unattended in a hot vehicle, noting time is precious in those circumstances.