Some pet owners are still telling themselves that it's OK to leave their pets in vehicles for "just a moment" while they dash into a store. Actually, its not OK and, in fact, its quite cruel to leave any animal unattended in a sweltering vehicle for any length of time. It takes less then 10 minutes for the temperature in a parked car to rise to 102 degrees Celsius. In 30 minutes the temperature can sky rocket to a baking hot 120 degrees Celsius. No living creature should be expected to sit calmly and quietly in such an environment. The best place for your pet to be while you run errands is safely at home. They might miss you but the silver lining is that they will be safe and comfortable and ready for lots of snuggles when you walk in the door.
There are several things you can do to immediately control the situation:
- get on your cell phone and call your local animal control centre
- call the non emergency police number
- enter local businesses to search for the owner
- call a tow truck company to have them open the car doors
- call 911 if the animal appears to be suffering, i.e. extreme lethargy, extreme panting, thick drooling saliva, seizures, loss of consciousness
- in life or death situations, try the car door, it could be unlocked
- last resort life saving effort is breaking into the vehicle to rescue an animal in distress
Not all provinces are on board with the idea of smashing the glass of a vehicle to save animals and, in some cases charges have been laid against the rescuer. In other cases, authorities will fine the pet owner but the law is not as yet clearly defined as to what is a suitable punishment. There are provisions in The Animal Care Act of Manitoba that state an animal is defined as being in distress if there is "confinement with insufficient ventilation" but nowhere does the Act indicate that being trapped in a hot car is actionable.