The SPCA is reminding owners to not leave their pets in hot cars. (File photo)

If you see a dog in a hot car, don’t break in: SPCA

People are being discouraged from smashing windows to free animals. The SPCA has tips on what else you can do.

Warm weather is upon us this week and with that, comes concern over animals being left alone in hot vehicles.

The BC SPCA has tips for people if they stumble across such a situation, but stress they “definitely do not encourage people to break into cars themselves.”

“For dogs in hot cars we ask people to call our BC SPCA animal cruelty hotline,” said Lorie Chortyk, BC SPCA spokeswoman, noting the number is 1-855-622-7722. “Once they have a person on the phone, they ask a series of questions to determine the condition of the animal (no distress, mild distress, distress) and our response would be based on the condition of the dog and what the scenario is.”

If the animal is not in distress, the SPCA asks people to inquire in a nearby store, and have the vehicle and licence plate paged to try to get the owner to return to the vehicle.

“If that is not possible we would move on to the next response, which in Surrey is Surrey Animal Control as they have advised us that they will attend and we would provide that number for the caller to get in touch with them to have them come by and monitor the situation,” Chortyk told Black Press.

“Surrey Animal Control would also be who we would ask a caller to contact for mild distress,” she added. “For distress, we would ask the caller to hang up and call 9-1-1 immediately. We direct the distress calls to the RCMP if we do not have an office immediately available as we have a limited number of officers and we want to make sure someone can there ASAP.”

Every year, the SPCA responds to hundreds of calls about animals in distress in hot cars, said Chortyk.

“Many people don’t realize that a dog can die in a hot car in as little as ten minutes, even with the windows cracked open and in the shade,” she added. “It would be unthinkable for us to put our pets in an oven and turn on the heat, but that is exactly what people do when they leave their dog in a car on a warm day. Sadly, we have seen these situations end tragically, and it is completely preventable. We urge people to leave their pets at home on warm days.”

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