Following on from my previous post about the two police dogs killed in a hot car, I wanted to take a little time out to share the campaign initiated by Dogs Today Magazine, and supported by a growing number of celebrities and companies.
Beverley Cuddy has a blog post about the campaign here, with some of the endorsements, and there is a website here, with downloadable posters, in English and other languages. I have posters in my car, and will soon be ordering stickers.
The most important part of the website, however, is the part that advises what action should be taken if we see a dog in a car, along with early warning signs & first aid for heatstroke. I will copy the information here, but please do go to the website, watch the videos (especially the one of the cookies being baked inside a car!), print the posters, order stickers, and share it around friends & family.
Please be a responsible owner, if you’re going out with your dog, make sure he or she is welcome where ever you go, if you’re not sure; please leave him or her at home.
The RSPCA advice is: if you see a dog in a car on a warm day, please call the police on 999.
Under the Animal Welfare Act everyone has a legal duty to care for their animals and if someone puts their animal at risk, they should face prosecution. Obviously they also have to live with the fact that their action resulted in terrible, unimaginable suffering.
If the car is in a supermarket car park or at a public event, ask for a message to be broadcast, asking the owner to return to their car immediately.
If the police are unable to attend, call the RSPCA 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 or if you are in Scotland: 03000 999 999 for SSPCA
(Please store this number on your mobile phone!)
There has been much debate online as to what to do if no one comes in time and the clock is ticking. Consensus is to try to take photos/video of the scene, using your phone. If you decide things are serious and you need to break in to release the dog try to make sure you record what you are doing and to protect yourself from accusations of criminal damage. Certainly advise the police of your intention to do this, so they are aware.
Tell us more: What was the police response when you called in a dog in distress? We believe there may be regional differences. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your experiences.
Heatstroke early warning signs
- Heavy panting
- Profuse salivation
- A rapid pulse
- Very red gums/tongue
- Lack of coordination
- Reluctance or inability to rise after collapsing
- Loss of consciousness
Heatstroke first aid
If a dog shows any symptoms of heatstroke, move him/her to a shaded, cool area and ring a vet for advice immediately. Heatstroke should always be treated as an emergency.
Dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature gradually lowered:
- Immediately douse the dog with cool (not cold) water if possible
- Let the dog drink small amounts of cool water.
- Never cool the dog so much that he/she begins to shiver.
- Then go straight to the veterinary surgery.