It’s not cool to leave a hot dog in your car.
That’s the message the City of Surrey, BC SPCA and local emergency personnel want to get out to the public during this extremely hot, dry summer.
On Thursday afternoon, officials were on hand at Guildford Town Centre encouraging pet owners to leave their animals at home on hot summer days rather than leave them in vehicles while they run errands throughout the city.
Last year, the BC SPCA received more than 1,100 calls for dogs locked in hot vehicles and the numbers are even larger this year, said Lori Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.
“Many well-meaning guardians leave their pets in parked vehicles while they run errands, thinking they will be safe for a short period,” she said. “Tragically, in hot weather, their pets can suffer serious heatstroke and die in a matter of minutes.”
Earlier this week, Surrey bylaw officers responded to a complaint of a dog locked in a vehicle at 4:30 in the afternoon. When they arrived, they found a dog inside a car that had an inside temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit). The owner of the dog was issued a $500 fine.
“This is a completely preventable offense,” said Kim Marosevich, city bylaw operations manager. “Yes, we have all these tools to remove the animal, but we don’t want to be doing that in the first place.”
Since dogs have no sweat glands, they cool down by panting or by releasing heat through their paws. Often the air inside a vehicle and the upholstery are so hot the animals are unable to cool off and can suffer irreparable organ or brain damage in a matter of 10 to 20 minutes.
Surrey Coun. Mary Martin (below) was given an opportunity to sit inside one of the vehicles parked at the mall to fully understand what dogs go through. Using a hand-held temperature sensor, BC SPCA Special Constable Eileen Drever got a reading of 33 degree Celsius off the pavement and 45 degrees Celsius inside the BC SPCA vehicle.
Within five minutes, Martin found the heat unbearable.
If you see a dog in distress, the RCMP does not recommend residents take the law into their own hands, as breaking a car window is a crime and they can be charged, Instead they encourage citizens to contact the City of Surrey or BC SPCA, or call 911.