Dogs die in hot cars reminder as lockdown is eased

Animal welfare charities are urging the public not to risk their dogs’ lives as the weather warms up and the government lifts some of the lockdown restrictions in England.

The Dogs Die in Hot Cars coalition group is launching this year’s campaign just a week after the Government eased lockdown restrictions, prompting many to return to work while families were told they could go out in their cars for exercise and leisure again.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, British Parking Association, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, The Mayhew Animal Home, National Animal Welfare Trust, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), PDSA, RSPCA, Scottish SPCA, #TeamOtisUK and Wood Green The Animals Charity have all teamed up again to spread the message.

The reminder comes ad forecasters predict another heatwave this week, with temperatures to reach the mid 20s.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Samantha Gaines said: “While the country is still in lockdown, the Government has eased some restrictions just as the weather forecast predicts more hot temperatures sweeping across the country.

“It means more people are likely to be out and about with their dogs and we want to remind owners that dogs can struggle in the heat. We’d urge everybody to consider their pet’s welfare, and to never ever leave them alone in stationary vehicles on a warm day. Leaving your dog at home with access to water and somewhere that is cool is safer.”

In the past 10 years, the RSPCA has received 72,733 complaints to its emergency hotline about animals in hot environments (the majority of which relate to dogs in hot cars).

The real number of dogs being left in hot cars is expected to be much higher as the main advice is to contact police to report an incident.

What to do if you see a dog in a car on a hot day

In an emergency it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police. The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough, with no powers of entry, we need police assistance at such an incident.

If the situation becomes critical and the police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. But please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage.

Make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit criminal damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to if they knew the circumstances.