Pet owners should leave their furry friends at home

Powell River police receive many calls about animals left in vehicles, says staff sergeant

Powell River residents are reminded not to leave pets in vehicles in the hot weather.

“The police respond to numerous calls like this during the summer months,” said Powell River RCMP staff sergeant Rod Wiebe. “With all the information and education out there, it is hard to comprehend why people keep doing this. If police attend and find the animal is in distress, forced entry will be made into the vehicle. For the sake of your pet, please leave them at home on hot days, not in your car.”

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Owners who expose pets to excessive heat can be charged under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, with maximum penalties of $75,000 fines and two-years imprisonment.

City of Powell River Animal Control Bylaw 36.a) stipulates: “No person shall cause an animal to be confined in an enclosed space, including a motor vehicle, without sufficient ventilation to prevent the animal from suffering discomfort or heat stroke.”

Leaving car windows open just a crack is not enough for proper ventilation. It only takes minutes before the interior of a car becomes an oven. When summer temperatures reach 26°C outside, it’s 43°C inside vehicles. Leaving vehicles unattended for just a few minutes can cause pets distress and even heat stroke, according to BC SPCA.

BC SPCA and RCMP advise people not to break a window to rescue an animal, but to call 911 instead.

“If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, take down the car's colour, model, make and licence plate number and call the police,” said Wiebe.

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