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Call 911 if you see pet left in hot car, province urges

(Via Province of Ontario)

The Ontario government is urging everyone to take the necessary precautions to keep their pets safe and protected during the hot summer months.

Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly become hotter than the temperature outside even if windows are left slightly open. Pets can be put at risk of serious illness and possibly death due to heat exposure as a result of being left in a vehicle. If pets cannot leave the car and go with their owners, then leave them at home where they will be safe, cool, and comfortable.

“Animal owners have a responsibility to provide the proper care for their pets. Leaving a pet unattended in a hot car is irresponsible and can put an animal’s life in danger,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “It is important that we take the necessary precautions to protect our pets from the heat. I am proud that Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement a full provincial animal welfare enforcement system to enhance animal safety and ensure strong penalties for those who commit acts of animal cruelty.”

The Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act came into effect January 1, 2020 and allows police, First Nations constables and provincial animal welfare inspectors to enter motor vehicles to help pets in distress. The legislation also has the strongest penalties in the country for people who violate animal welfare laws, including causing distress to an animal.

If an individual sees an animal in a hot car in distress and is concerned the animal’s life is in danger, call 911 immediately as this is an emergency. Members of the public should not attempt to enter a vehicle in these situations.

Quick Facts

  • Unlike humans, pets have a limited capacity to deal with the heat, and they can quickly become overwhelmed, leading to a heat stroke.
  • Excessive panting, increased drooling, weakness, muscle twitching, and vomiting are all examples of visible signs of distress that may indicate heat stroke in animals.
  • The most dramatic rise in temperature occurs within the first 10 minutes that a vehicle is idle. Even at an outdoor temperature of only 25ºC, the inside temperature of a car can reach 34ºC in as little as 10 minutes and up to 50ºC by the time an hour has passed.
  • In these emergencies, fire services may also assist in rescuing distressed pets in motor vehicles.
  • Cruelty to any animal is not tolerated in Ontario. If you think any animal is in distress or being abused, call 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).