'Dogs die in hot cars' warning after more than 160 welfare cases are reported in South Yorkshire

A dog in a hot car.
A dog in a hot car.

An animal welfare charity has issued a stark warning that 'dogs die in hot cars' after revealing more than 160 welfare cases were reported in South Yorkshire last year.

A total of 163 cases were reported to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 2017 in which people were concerned that dogs had been left in hot environments - such as being left inside a locked vehicle.

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This included five cases over the recent Bank Holiday alone in which the area basked in hot weather of up to 23C.

While pet owners continue to enjoy the sunshine, the RSPCA is reminding them of the dangers of leaving their dogs inside a vehicle.

RSPCA campaign manager Holly Barber said: “Many people think it will be fine just to leave their pets for a minute or two but we know that this is all it takes for temperatures inside a car to soar to dangerous levels.

“Dogs die in hot cars - don’t let your pet be one of the number.

“We have been doing a lot of campaigning lately about the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car, and it’s really worrying that despite this, some people are still putting their pets in dangerous situations.

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“Our main advice to owners is not to leave dogs in cars and our main advice to passers-by is to call 999 if they’re concerned about an animal in a hot environment.”

Nationwide the charity received 217 calls about dogs locked in hot cars over the bank holiday weekend - around three calls every hour.

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For the whole of 2017 there were 7, 876 calls made about animals in hot environments.

The charity has now issued the following advice on what to do if you see a dog inside a hot car:-

1. 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 and, with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.

2. If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke – such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting – call 999 immediately.

3. If the situation becomes critical and 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 damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.

4. Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area and pour small amounts of cool water over their body. Don’t use cold water as this could put your pet into shock. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water. Once the dog is cool take him the to nearest vet as a matter of urgency.

5. If the dog isn’t displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long the dog has been in the car and make a note of the registration. Ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy, if possible, and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition.

6. You can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.