Dogs, cars, heat: A deadly combo

Hu­mane So­ci­ety is­sues warn­ing as tem­per­a­tures climb

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - — Sun staff

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.

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