Submitted by Steve on 08:52, 2nd Jun, 2017 | 0

As the weather become increasingly warmer, people in Guernsey are being reminded not to leave their dogs alone in a car on a warm day.

Many people may think 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.  Steve Byrne, GSPCA Manager said:

“It can get unbearably hot in a car on a sunny day, even when it’s not that warm.  When it’s 22 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47 degrees within an hour.”

The Guernsey Police and the GSPCA have both received a number of calls already this year from concerned members of the public, and are advising people of the best course of action to take if they are concerned about a dog which has been left in a vehicle.

If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, you can call 999.   The Police will then work together with the GSPCA, if animal welfare assistance is required.  Sergeant Laura Furby of Guernsey Police said:

“If the situation becomes critical, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog.  Guernsey Police are warning people that without proper justification, this could be classed as an offence under the Criminal  Damage (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 1983 and as such may lead to a court appearance.”

“However, the law also 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 it, if they knew the circumstances.  So, if you saw a dog in a hot car and believed it to be in danger of death or dying you could form the opinion that the owner of the dog would want you to break their window in order to save their dogs life.” 

“This course of action could lead some people to seek compensation for the damage, which would be a civil matter.  Therefore, the best course of action is to contact the Police and the GSPCA and stay with the vehicle.  You could also make a note of any parking clock time, how wide the windows are open, whether any water is available to the dog, and whether the vehicle is in direct sunlight.”

Unlike humans, dogs pant to keep themselves cool.  In a hot stuffy car, they can’t  cool down.  Leaving a window open, or placing a sunshield on the car windscreen won’t keep the car cool enough.  Welfare Manager for the GSPCA Lorna Prince said:

“Some dogs are more prone to heatstroke.  For example dogs with short snouts, fatter or heavily muscled dogs and long haired breeds as well as very young or very old dogs.”

“Dogs die in hot cars, and if it can be proven that your dog is suffering, you can face prosecution.  You would also have to live with the fact that your thoughtless action resulted in terrible distress for your pet.”

Steve added "Yesterday we had some very concerning calls and were out monitoring and checking on a number of animals some which resulted in the owners having to move them from where they were being kept."

"We would urge all owners of animals in vinerys, green houses and enclosures with large amounts of glass to please ensure they are well ventilated and kept at an appropriate temperature."

Signs of heatstroke include heavy panting, rapid pulse, salivation and very red gums. In extreme circumstances dogs can also suffer a loss of consciousness.  Any dog suffering from heatstroke needs to have their body temperature gradually lowered by moving them into the shade, dousing with cool water and allowing them to drink small amounts.   Anyone dealing with an animal which has suspected heatstroke is advised to call their vet for advice immediately.

For more advice and information on how best to care for your pets during the hot weather, you can contact the GSPCA on 257261.

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