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RSPCA receives hundreds of complaints about dogs in hot cars

RSPCA receives more than two calls every hour during heatwave - despite charity’s key advice to call 999

The RSPCA fears more dogs will lose their lives this summer locked inside sweltering cars after almost 400 calls during the recent warm weather and over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The charity - the largest and oldest animal welfare organisation in the country - received 388 reports of animals in hot environments between Monday 21 August and Bank Holiday Monday (28 August) when a mini heatwave swept across the country seeing temperatures of almost 30°C - that’s more than two calls every hour.

“It’s really worrying that despite all of our campaign activity and publicity this summer, hundreds of people are still putting their pets in perilously dangerous situations,” RSPCA campaign manager, Holly Barber, said.

“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.

“Despite these clear and simple messages, people continue to put their pets’ lives at risk by leaving them shut inside vehicles when the temperature outside is nearing 30°C. And while many well-intentioned people concerned for the welfare of the animal are alerting us, we would urge them to call police instead as they can often get there quicker and have the power to break into a vehicle to get animals out of danger.

“My fear is that, unless people seriously consider the danger they are putting their pets in, more dogs will lose their lives this summer due to their owner’s ignorance.”

In 2016, the RSPCA’s emergency hotline received 7,187 calls about animals in hot environments -
the majority of which were regarding dogs. While down from the previous year (8,779), the number
is still worryingly high considering the charity’s key advice is for people to call 999.

The charity is working with 12 other organisations to raise awareness of the dangers associated with leaving dogs in cars, vans and caravans, as well as conservatories, sheds and outbuildings.

It’s important to remember not to leave any animal in a car or caravan, or in a conservatory or outbuilding, where temperatures can quickly rise, even when it doesn’t feel that warm outside. For example, when it’s 22C outside, within an hour the temperature can reach 47C inside a vehicle, which can result in death.

For more information on what to do if you see a dog in a hot car, please visit the RSPCA website:
https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars. In an emergency, the
RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and our officers have no power of entry so we
urge the public to call police on 999.

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