SPCA issues warning after pets left in cars

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With the weather heating up, SPCA Otago staff are reminding dog owners to be cautious about leaving their pets in vehicles. SPCA Otago office manager Julie Richardson said they were beginning to receive at least a couple of phone calls every day about dogs being left in cars during warm weather. With Dunedin weather able to have ‘‘four seasons in one day’’, dog owners needed to be cautious about leaving animals in vehicles even on grey, cloudy days as the weather could quickly heat up, Miss Richardson said. She advised owners not to leave their animals in cars, but if they did so, to leave them only for a short amount of time with good ventilation and water. Leaving cars parked in the shade would also not really help, as temperatures inside vehicles were often at least 10degC warmer than outside the car, she said. When dogs overheated, their natural cooling techniques — such as panting and sweating through their paws — no longer worked, meaning that they could get brain damage or die from heat exhaustion fairly quickly, she said. SPCA Otago business development manager Kirsty Thomson said the SPCA also advised owners to harness animals that travelled inside vehicles so they did not harm themselves or passengers if drivers had to brake suddenly. The Animal Welfare Act 1999 advised that dogs should not be transported in a closed boot unless they are injured and it is the most appropriate way to transport them over a short distance.
The Act also said dogs travelling on the back of trucks should have non-slip surfaces provided and dogs should not travel on the back of trucks in extreme weather, unless shelter is provided.