Heatwave poses deadly dangers for dogs left in cars

Heatwave poses deadly dangers for dogs left in cars

As the UK continues to bask in a lengthy summer heatwave, motorists are reminded that leaving their dogs in the car poses lethal risks.

With temperatures expected to top 34C by the end of the week, the RSPCA is urging dog owners not to leave their pets locked in hot cars, as conditions inside can turn deadly in minutes.

Here’s our quick guide to knowing how to look after your pets during a heatwave, and what to do if you see a dog suffering in a car.

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How hot is too hot to leave a dog in a car?

Although temperatures are expected to reach the mid 30s this week, it’s still unsafe to leave your dog in a car when the temperature is much lower.

Even in relatively cool temperatures of 24C, the inside of a locked car can quickly become like a furnace, reaching 34C in just 10 minutes and a scorching 43C inside an hour.

The RSPCA warns that: “Many people still believe that it’s OK to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.

“A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm.”

It is illegal for me to leave a dog in a car?

The current law means it’s not technically illegal to leave a pet unattended in a car, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

And if your pet becomes ill or dies as a result of your actions, then you could be charged with animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

If you’re found guilty then you could face a six-month jail sentence and be hit with an unlimited fine.

In 2017, a motorist was given an 18-week prison sentence suspended for two years, a £1,900 fine, and was banned from keeping animals for 10 years after his three dogs died in the back of his car.

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What should I do if I see a dog in a hot car?

Should you see a dog locked in car that you think is suffering from heatstroke, the first thing you should do is dial 999 immediately.

Try to ascertain how long the dog has been in the car and if there are shops nearby ask a staff member to make an announcement with the car registration to inform the owner of the situation.

If the police are unable to attend and you believe the situation is critical for the animal’s life then you may consider taking further action yourself.

Before forcibly gaining access to the car, be sure to inform the police of what you intend to do and document the situation with photos, videos, and the names and details of any other witnesses.

Should you decide to smash a window, you should be prepared to have to defend your actions in court. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage to property if you believe the owner of said property would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.