‘Reckless behaviour’ leaving pets in hot cars

(A Beagle in a closed-up vehicle – Iryna Inshyna Shutterstock)

“It is critically important to ensure all pets are protected from the potential fatal effects of the hot summer sun,” said Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s Solicitor General. “Leaving pets to suffer in a sweltering vehicle will not be tolerated and we have adopted tough new laws to deter this type of reckless behaviour in the province.” A strong message for residents in Ontario not to leave pets in hot vehicles.

A full provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system, is being implemented in Ontario and the first jurisdiction in Canada to do so. The Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act came into effect January 1st, 2020 and allows police, First Nations constables and provincial animal welfare inspectors to enter motor vehicles to help pets in distress. Ontario also has the strongest penalties in the country for people who violate animal welfare laws, including causing distress to animals.

The Ottawa Humane Society says, ” when a heat advisory is issued, it applies to animals as well. Even on a relatively mild day, temperatures in parked cars can become dangerous in a matter of minutes. Opening or lowering the windows does little or nothing to slow this process. With only hot air to breathe, a dog’s normal cooling process – panting – doesn’t work. A dog can withstand internal body temperatures of 40°C for only a few minutes before brain damage or death can occur. The older or more vulnerable the animal, the more susceptible they are to heatstroke or something worse.”

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says “leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle is one of the most irresponsible things a pet owner can do. If you can’t take your pet with you when you leave your car, leave them at home where they are safe. You’re reminded that parked cars can quickly reach deadly temperatures, even on relatively mild days with the car parked in the shade and the windows slightly open.”

If you see an animal in a hot car and are concerned the animal’s life is in immediate danger, dial 911. Members of the public should not attempt to enter a vehicle in these situations. If you think an animal is in distress or being abused, call 1-833-9-ANIMAL (264625).

Additional Information:

Dogs have a very limited ability to sweat unlike humans. Even a short period in a hot environment can cause suffering and distress, which could result in brain damage or death.

Excessive panting, drooling, listlessness, collapsing or seizures are all examples of visible signs of heat stress in animals. If you witness these signs in your pet, move the animal to a cool area and seek veterinary attention immediately. You can get more details online here.


Leave a Reply