The RSPCA is issuing a fresh warning to dog owners to never leave a pet unattended in a car on a warm day after almost 4,000 reports of incidents during the ongoing heatwave.
The animal welfare has issued the renewed advice after being made aware of the tragic deaths of three dogs who were left in vehicles in two separate incidents, and countless reports of dogs being removed from vehicles by members of the public.
During the first three weeks of July (1-22), the RSPCA’s emergency hotline received 1,806 calls about animals and heat exposure and 3,832 calls during the heatwave so far (1 June – 24 July).
The sad incident occurred as a survey by the RSPCA revealed that more people than ever say they would never leave their dog in a car on a warm day – although the charity’s figures don’t seem to support that.
The RSPCA lead a coalition of charities and organisations in the annual Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign.
Holly Barber, Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign manager for the RSPCA, said: “Every year we commission a survey to find out people’s awareness and attitudes to this issue. At Christmas in 2016 only 55% of people said they would never leave their dog in a car on a warm day. This has now risen to 71% (July 2018).
“However, despite this promising data, the RSPCA continues to be inundated with calls from members of the public reporting dogs that have been left in hot cars. This is extremely worrying when you consider that our key advice is to call the police on 999 in an emergency.”
The charity also surveyed people to find out what they would do if they saw a dog in a car on a hot day. In 2016, 46% of people also said they’d contact the RSPCA for help and only 48% said they’d contact police while 27% said they’d smash the window of the car.
Now, 18 months later, only 41% said they’d contact the RSPCA while 52% said they’d dial 999 and 33% said they’d smash the window.
Holly added: “I simply don’t understand how people can possibly think it’s acceptable to leave a dog inside a parked car when temperatures outside are topping 30C. It’s absolutely baffling that people who believe they are loving pet owners can even consider this is being acceptable.”
The RSPCA advises that anyone who sees a dog in a car on a hot day should dial 999, not the RSPCA, as only police have the power to smash windows and bring the animal to safety.