It seems to happen every year, doesn’t it? As soon as the weather gets nice, we have to read more stories about pillock dog owners who leave their pets trapped in cars in the direct sun. Just yesterday, police were forced to smash into a ‘blazing hot’ car to release a dog at York Hospital.
A car can become incredibly hot incredibly quickly and, according to the RSCPA, when it’s 22 degrees outside, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.
But what should you do if you see a dog trapped in a hot car?
In an emergency, you should first contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or the police on 999.
“Establish the animal’s health and condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 immediately,” the animal charity say.
“If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
“Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).”
Nottinghamshire Police repeat that the decision to smash a car window is up to you – but you might have to defend yourself in court.
“If the police don’t have time to get there, then you have to decide if you should take action,” the police force says.
“Don’t [smash a window] unless certain of your ground and are prepared to defend your actions in court.”
And the AA have some common-sense tips for dog owners to keep your pets safe in warm weather:
1. Never leave your dog alone in the car – even if it seems cool outside it can become very hot very quickly
2. Parking in the shade and/or keeping the windows down doesn’t make it safe
3. Keep your dog as cool as possible when driving – avoid the hottest part of the day, use sun blinds and consider opening a window a little
4. Carry a supply of water
5. Plan stops on your route for water breaks