RSPCA Boiling Mad as Dog Dies in Hot Car
One dog is dead and two dogs were put at risk as a result of two separate ‘dogs in hot cars’ incidents in Perth yesterday. RSPCA is investigating both cases.
A male mastiff dog died after being left in a hot car near a shopping centre in Perth’s northern suburbs on Wednesday afternoon, after allegedly being left inside the vehicle for around 2 hours.
Members of the public witnessed the distressed dog and reported it to RSPCA WA Inspectors who responded immediately. Sadly the dog had succumbed to its heat-related injuries before they arrived.
At the same time in a suburb in Perth’s south, a concerned member of the public reported two dogs in a hot car to WA Police, who notified RSPCA Inspectors. The dogs’ owner returned to the car before Inspectors arrived.
It was a cloudy day in Perth yesterday with a maximum temperature of 27.1 degrees Celsius. The temperature inside a parked car can quickly rise to double the outside temperature, meaning temperatures inside parked cars yesterday could have exceeded 50 degrees Celsius.
A dog can suffer heat stress and die in as little as six minutes. Parking in the shade or underground, leaving windows down, or leaving water in the car offers little to no relief.
Pet owners need to be aware that it is an offence to confine your animal anywhere, including in a vehicle where it suffers - or even is likely to suffer - and owners could face prosecution.
Since the start of summer (December 1), RSPCA WA has received 132 reports of dogs in hot cars.
Comments from RSPCA WA Chief Inspector Amanda Swift:
“I’m deeply saddened and frustrated by the loss of an innocent dog yesterday, who died in horrific circumstances as a result of people’s negligence.
“Dogs dying from being left in parked cars is not acceptable – it’s an offence; and it’s completely avoidable. There really is no excuse for this to be happening.
“I’d like to thank those members of the public yesterday who reported the incidents and did what they could do in very confronting circumstances to help the animals. But I can’t understand why the message isn’t sinking in, and why dog owners continue to put their pets’ lives in danger. Dogs can die in parked cars in as little as six minutes. Why would any loving pet owner put their pet’s life at risk like that?”
“We often hear excuses like they were only going to be five minutes, or it’s not really that hot today. It’s not good enough!
“I want to make it very clear: It is a criminal offence to leave a dog in a hot car. Plain and simple, it amounts to cruelty and we will prosecute.”
People who leave their dog in a car on a hot day can be prosecuted under the Animal Welfare Act and face a maximum penalty of $50,000 or five years’ imprisonment, and a lengthy prohibition order preventing them from owning an animal for an amount of time determined by the courts.
What should you do if you see a dog in a parked car?
- Note down the vehicle’s registration number and location and report it immediately to the RSPCA Cruelty Hotline on 1300 CRUELTY (1300 278 3589);
- If you’re at a shopping centre, ask the centre management to page the owner of the vehicle by reading out the registration details over the speaker system;
- Keep an eye on the dog until help arrives but maintain a suitable distance ensuring not to agitate the dog which could cause further distress;
- Gather as much information as possible (vehicle details, time and date, photos of the dog in the vehicle etc.) to substantiate the report and assist with the investigation