Dogs, cars, heat: A deadly combo
Humane Society issues warning as temperatures climb
As the temperatures continue to rise and Winnipeggers prepare for yet another stiflingly hot weekend, the Winnipeg Humane Society (WHS) urges citizen’s not to forget their four-legged friends in the car, as the consequences may be tragic.
It’s an unsettling trend the WHS has been watching increase for the past two years — pet owners leave their animals in the car while they run an errand. In 2016, the WHS reported that they had received 186 complaints of an animal being locked in a vehicle, in 2017 the number more nearly doubled with 324 complaints received by the WHS.
With temperatures reaching the mid-30s — and the city and much of southern Manitoba under a heat warning — on Saturday the risk will be high
Though it may seem like an innocent enough mistake, the WHS said leaving an animal locked in a car can lead to the animal suffering from heat stroke, brain damage and in some cases death.
“It’s something that puts the pet in great danger,” said WHS spokesperson Aileen White.
White described how a locked car on even a warm day can heat up to extreme temperatures, essentially acting like an oven. White added that with the temperatures and humidity that Winnipeggers will be facing this weekend, a locked car can reach over 40 C in less than 10 minutes.
“There’s no such thing as a safe temperature inside a vehicle, you just don’t know what’s going to happen,” said White. “A five minute trip into the store could be delayed by 15 to 20 minutes and on a particularly hot and humid day — that could lead to death.”
To try to curb the increasing trend the WHS in partnership with River City Ford, created a decal this summer that can be placed in a car window. The decal reads “A Hot Car Can Kill” and has the emergency contact number of the Winnipeg Humane Society.
If an animal is found to be locked in a hot car, White said the driver should be found immediately, and if the driver is unable to be found the WHS emergency number can be called. The WHS emergency crew will attend to the vehicle and, if needed, contact the Winnipeg Police to break into the vehicle to rescue the animal.
“It would be phenomenal if one day every vehicle in Winnipeg would these decals and the message would be loud and clear,” White said. “It’s something that we need to cause greater awareness for because it can kill an animal. It’s just the simple fact of the matter.”
Decals are available for a donation at the WHS, Petland, participating Pet Value locations and River City Ford. Funds from the decals go back into the WHS.