As Hampshire is blessed with sunny days, the RSPCA has again issued a reminder about what the hot weather can do to our furry friends.
The RSPCA sent the reminder out on its social media pages, telling people what to do if they see a dog in a hot car.
The advice is clear – call 999.
A spokesman said: “Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them or their much loved family pet, yet every year many people still gamble with their dog’s life and every summer dogs die in hot cars.
“Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they are parked in the shade.
“The truth is it’s still very dangerous and while not every dog left in this situation will die, at the very least they are likely to experience distress, discomfort and anxiety.
“A car can become an oven very quickly even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it is 22°c outside – within an hour – the temperature in a car can reach an unbearable 47°c.”
The charity says it receives thousands of calls about dogs in hot cars, but it has no powers of entry so RSPCA officers can’t free the animals.
But it isn’t just hot days, and it doesn’t have to be a car.
The spokesman added: “It doesn’t have to be a hot day, it doesn’t have to be a car, and it doesn’t have to be a dog.
“We’ve seen dogs dying in cars but we’ve also, tragically, seen them lose their lives in conservatories.
“And while generally dogs are most likely to be affected, they are not the only one this applies to. Last year, a man was convicted for leaving his ferret in a car on a warm day. The ferret lost his life.”
Information on what to do on the RSPCA website states:
Help a dog in a hot car
Establish the animal’s health/condition.
If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999
If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away/unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do, why, and take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident.
The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
Once removed, if the dog is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow our emergency first aid advice. This could mean the difference between life and death for the dog.
If the dog is not displaying symptoms of heatstroke:
Establish how long the dog has been in the car? A ‘pay and display’ ticket could help.
Make a note of the car’s registration. If the owner returns, but you still feel the situation was dangerous for the dog, you may still report the incident to the police.
If you’re at a superstore/venue/event ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the situation.
If possible, get someone to stay with the dog to monitor their condition. If they begin to display signs of distress/heatstroke, be prepared to dial 999.
You can also call our cruelty line for advice any time on 0300 1234 999. However, if the dog is in danger, dialing 999 should always be the first step.