Langley vet offers free signs to save animals

Dr. Renee Ferguson kicks off a campaign to keep pets from being left in hot cars this summer.

A local veterinary clinic launched a new campaign this week aimed at keeping pets out of hot cars this summer.

Mountain View Veterinary Hospital in Willowbrook has devised a free sign that can hang in local businesses, letting customers know that pets are welcome.

The program was launched to encourage customers to bring their pet inside, rather than leaving them in a hot car, said Dr. Renee Ferguson, operator of Mountain View and a vet who was recently given a national award for going above and beyond in providing care for local pets.

“Every summer we see needless pet fatalities caused by people leaving them in a hot car. It is an extremely dangerous situation because animals can suffer heat stroke, brain damage, and even die if left in a hot car,” Ferguson said.

“Ideally, it’s best to not bring your pets with you but if you have to, it’s great if there are pet-friendly businesses that let you bring your pets inside.”

The reusable signs cling to window and are available at Mountain View, #132-196 53 Willowbrook Dr. or from Langley Animal Protection Society shelter in Aldergrove, 26220 56th Ave.

She described the initiative as important “because tragedy can happen so quickly,” Ferguson said. “It only takes a matter of minutes before heat stroke, brain damage, or death can occur.”

She doesn’t deal with many cases involving pets left in hot cars, not because there aren’t such cases in Langley, the doctor said. Instead, it’s because “unfortunately, it’s usually too late and the pet has passed,” Ferguson explained.

“Most people don’t intend to leave their pets in a car for a long period of time, but they can get delayed or distracted and sadly a quick stop turns deadly,” she said. “Leaving the windows open a crack, or in the shade is not good enough. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise to dangerous levels very quickly even on a cloudy day and with the windows slightly open.”

Ideally, people should leave their pets at home with access to a cool spot and plenty of water, but sometimes that is not possible, and that’s why she’s launched this initiative.

“Pets today are truly members of our family. It makes good sense for businesses to recognize that and accommodate pets when possible,” she concluded.

• See related story

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