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What can you do if you see a dog left in a hot car?

PUBLISHED: 10:49 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:14 07 August 2020

With high temperatures this weekend, owners should remeber never to leave their dog in the car. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

With high temperatures this weekend, owners should remeber never to leave their dog in the car. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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As temperatures hit the thirties today, it is always important to remind the public that dogs should not be left in cars.

The first step to helping a dog in distress should be to call the police on 101, or 999 depending on the urgency. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphotoThe first step to helping a dog in distress should be to call the police on 101, or 999 depending on the urgency. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you see a dog stuck in a hot car, what can you do?

Some owners still believe that leaving windows open or parking the car in shade is enough to keep their dog safe, but the RSPCA state that it can still be very dangerous for pets.

Even if you leave for a few minutes, the repercussions can be fatal.

Dogs pant as a way to cool down but when stuck in a car, which resembles an oven during hot weather, panting is not enough to stop them from overheating.

If left in a car, dogs can become dehydrated, develop heatstroke, or even die.

What can you do if you see a dog in danger?

First and foremost, you need to assess the urgency on the situation.

For non-emergencies, you should gather the details of the car.

‘Pay and display’ tickets can inform you of how long the dog has been in the car.

Alternatively, noting the car’s information and making an announcement if you’re at a shop or venue.

This information can also be used if you want to make a report to the police.

It is key that the dog is never left alone, if you are going to leave to get help then ensure there is someone to monitor the dog’s condition.

There is also an option of calling the RSCPA 24-hour cruelty line for advice on 0300 1234 99.

How do you know if it is an emergency?

There are several key signs to know if the dog has heatstroke or is in distress: heavy panting, dribbling, vomiting or diarrhoea, weakness, drowsiness or collapsing.

The RSPCA say that in emergencies, they may not be able to respond quickly enough.

If there are any signs of heatstroke, the public should dial 999 and inform the police for emergency animal welfare assistance.

Can I break the window to help the dog?

The police state on their website that it is not advisable to force entry into a vehicle yourself.

The first step should be to call the police on 101, or 999 depending on the urgency.

If the police don’t have time to get there, then a decision needs to be made as to whether you should take action by forcing entry.

If the situation needs forced entry then make sure the police are notified of what you’re doing.

You need to state what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and also it would be ideal to take photos or footage of the dog alongside any witnesses’ details.

You must have a lawful excuse to commit damage.

This needs a full assessment of the situation and you must be prepared to defend your actions in court if legal action is to be taken.


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