AMHERST – People seem to be getting the message that it’s a bad idea to keep a dog in a parked car on a hot day.
“From June 1 to today we’ve had only three complaints of dogs being left in the vehicle,” said Const. Michelle Harrison of the Amherst Police Department on Aug. 8. “Either it’s happening more often and we’re not getting the call, or people are more diligent.”
Harrison said police were able to speak to people in two of the incidents.
“In one occurrence, when the caller called, they didn’t have a plate (number), so we couldn’t trace it back to anybody,” she said. “So when our officers arrived on the scene the lady reported that the owners had left with the vehicle. That was one occurrence we couldn’t follow up on.
“In the other two occurrences the owners were on site,” she added. “One of them had just popped into a restaurant to grab something for take-out and came right back out.
“The dogs were not in distress in any of the situations.”
With temperatures expected to reach 30 C today, Dr. Tanya Sparling, veterinarian with the Amherst Veterinary Clinic, says leaving a dog in a car on a hot day, “isn’t really ever a safe option. It can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal.”
Temperatures in a parked car can rise quickly.
“On a 25 C day the temperature inside a car can quickly rise to 50 C, even with the windows open,” said Sparling. “It’s the same with a child. You shouldn’t leave your child in a parked vehicle, and it’s the same with a dog in this kind of heat.”
If your dog is with you and you need to stop somewhere for a short amount of time, Sparling said, “Tying them in a shady area outside the car would be a better alternative.”
She said leaving water with the dog is also a good idea.
If you do see a dog in a parked car, Harrison said it’s a good idea to call the police.
“We would never suggest someone confront someone else,” said Harrison. “It’s a safety issue.
“Even if they have no idea how long the car has been there, it’s always best to call,” she added. “We’ve never had any backlash from the vehicle owners, they’ve always been very appreciative.”