Unbelievably, in a recent poll, over 40% of people consider it to be acceptable to leave a dog in a hot car, the RSPCA has revealed. The charity commissioned a survey of more than 8,000 people, and were shocked to find that only 55% of people expressed the opinion that it’s never acceptable to leave a dog in a hot car.
Now the RSPCA along with 11 other organisations are setting out to raise public awareness that it is never okay to leave a dog in a car when the weather is hot – a particularly relevant message now summer is just around the corner and we are having some beautiful sunny weather in the UK.
Just last year, several dogs overheated in hot cars to the extent that they died. As a result, the ‘Dogs Die in Hot Cars’ campaign group is made up of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association, Dog’s Trust, The Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, National Animal Welfare Trust, National Police Chiefs Council, PDSA, RSPCA, #TeamOtisUK and Wood Green The Animals Charity.
Campaign manager Holly Barber, from the RSPCA, said: “You should never leave a dog in a hot car. This isn’t a new message, it’s something we’ve been shouting from the rooftops for a number of years now but it’s staggering that more than 40% of people still think it’s okay.
“The message is getting through to many people but there are still too many instances where animals are being left in sweltering cars, caravans and conservatories and tragically some of them have deadly consequences like last summer when four dogs died.”
Last June a man was convicted for causing unnecessary suffering to his three Staffordshire bull terriers after they died when he left them in a car in 16C heat. Another man was sentenced in his absence in March over leaving a husky-cross dog in a conservatory on a very hot August day, leading to his death.
How many times do you see a dog left to suffer in a hot car? And how many times is the owner outraged when you take them to task over it? Well enough is enough and the group of charities is uniting to stop the madness continuing, and make sure everyone knows not to leave dogs in hot environments.
Holly added: “While ignorance is bliss in many circumstances, this most certainly is not one of them.
“There is no excuse for owners not to be aware of the dangers associated with leaving any animal in an environment in which they cannot escape the heat or the sun.
“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 pets 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.
“We’re all working together to ensure no more lives are lost and no more animals suffer needlessly.”
The group aims to reduce the number of dogs, and other pets, suffering having from being left in cars or at home in conservatories or other hot environments, by raising awareness of the dangers.
Kennel Club Secretary Caroline Kisko added: “Owners should never leave a dog unattended in a vehicle or other potentially hot environment, it is not enough to just open a window or leave a supply of water. Dogs should instead be left in a secure, cool place with access to shade and water, or if you know this won’t be possible, you should consider leaving your dog at home in cool, safe surroundings.
“In an ideal world owners can take their dogs with them when they shop or go for a bite to eat, this is one of the reasons why the Kennel Club encourages businesses to be dog friendly and welcome our four legged friends rather than insist that they wait outside or in the car.”
Many situations are not suitable places to leave a dog in hot weather – not just cars, but caravans, conservatories, and some outbuildings. Even when it doesn’t feel warm outside, the temperature in those locations can soar. For example, when it’s 22C outside, within an hour the temperature can reach 47C inside a vehicle, which can result in death.