With the temperature rising, the number of dogs being left in cars is rising as well. In 2018 the B.C. SPCA received over 800 calls about dogs left in hot cars. Eileen Drever, senior officer protection and stakeholders relations, says that number is staggering because of the length of our summers is not all that long.
“The message is out there, even on just a warm day, you should not leave your animal in the car — for any length of time,” she says.
This comes after a dog was found in a car on Pandora Avenue last Wednesday and the owner was issued a $400 fine by Victoria Police.
Drever says she’s glad to see fines being issued and hopes that will mitigate the problem but says leaving your pet in the car runs another risk.
“The public is outraged with people leaving dogs in hot cars so you’re actually taking a chance that someone may break into your car and steal your dog,” she says. “So it’s really not worth five or 10 minutes to leave your dog in a car.”
Drever says the SPCA has recommended charges to Crown counsel before for dogs being left in vehicles and will continue to do so.
According to Drever dogs don’t perspire the same way humans do and the only way for them to cool off is through panting or dissipating heat from their paws.
“If they’re in a vehicle and you can’t see the signs, when an animal drops to the bottom of a car, that dog is in critical distress and it’s just a horrible, horrible death,” she says. “And it’s totally inexcusable.”
Drever says the maximum penalty for someone who left a dog in a car is a fine up to $75,000 under the Prevention of Cruelty Animals Act, along with prohibition of owning animals and or prison time, adding that charges can be laid through the Criminal Code as well.
She cited a recent case where a dog walker in Vancouver left six dogs inside her hot truck in 2018. In that case, Emma Paulsen was sentenced to six months in prison along with a lifetime ban on caring for animals.
Drever says this is progress but in her 39 years of experience, she’s never seen anyone get the maximum penalty.
“It’s really unfortunate that the majority of people who love their animals and leave them in cars are people who really, really love their animals and they just don’t think,” she says. “They don’t want to leave them at home and they’re just not thinking clearly about the consequences if the temperature rises.”
Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.