Tuesday, July 09, 2013

This is a public service announcement (without guitars)

UPDATE (July 17):  The story I mentioned in this post, via the folks at Birch Haven, was actually the same story which was picked up in the news about the W-Mart in Kemptville (I have never heard Kemptville referred to as "K-Town" - a common nickname for Kingston).  You can read more about the story here.

Have you ever sat in a parked car, on a hot day, with the window opened a crack?  If you haven’t, you should  try it.  It does not feel good.  Actually, it feels horrible and very quickly, you’ll find that you are feeling very ill.

Image courtesy of the Manitoba Pug Rescue.

Every summer, unfortunately, my Facebook feed and inbox fill up with stories about dogs that are left in cars while their guardians are shopping, eating, etc.  More often than not, the stories have a tragic ending.  The poor dog has died from heat exhaustion.  Occasionally, the dog survives but only after having endured what I can only imagine is a horrible, painful, experience.

Whenever we are out doing errands, I’m always keeping my eye out for dogs stuck in closed cars.  I have the police and animal control numbers in my phone.  I would have no problem calling in help or breaking a window to help a dog in distress.  I was really upset to read about an incident which happened in my hometown this week.

From the folks at Birch Haven Rescue and Rehabilitation Services (BHRR), a wonderful local rescue specializing in giant canine breeds and equines:
Very disappointed in Wal-Mart in K-town and four of their staff including a supervisor.  PLUS, the owner of a dog.

They saw nothing wrong in this Newf (possibly x) locked in a truck with the windows barely half open in 26 degree weather before the humidex!

Well, I did and as they would not call the police or ensure the dog was safe, I and Sean did.

One of their staff told me 'oh, the owner says he will be right back' and that 'the windows are partly open, he is fine.'

Another staff member said 'we got in trouble last time we called the police, so you have to.'

The owner said 'he is fine, the windows are down.'

The supervisor said 'we monitor the time for clear distress and if need be, call the police.'

I said to the Supervisor, If you wait until the dog is showing clear distress and you then call and then leave it up to the police to get the dog out, the poor dog is not going to have a good chance....

The dog was in the vehicle to no less than 20 minutes (from another Customer who was also watching who heard me talking to other staff - from where I noticed it was not yet ten minutes - I had my timer going on my phone) and I tried to educate on heat safety and your pet and no one cared.....NOT one!

The dog is fine.....this time....thanks to Sean & I.

Police made aware and they also have his license plate and I shall escalate with Wal-Mart as this protocol they have is going to kill lives. Police supported the breaking of windows and any means to get the dog out. Thumbs up to them!

Please please everyone, leave your pets at home......not in the vehicle.

We take our dogs to the park, to the vet, to the groomers, etc. but we would never leave them the car (no matter what the weather), unsupervised.  If we are going somewhere that the dogs can’t go to, we leave them at home or we don’t go.  This seems like a simple concept to me. 

I would encourage all pet owners to do the same.  If you can’t stay with them in the car to monitor them (or to keep the air conditioning running), leave them behind.  You’ll be happier, they’ll be happier, and no one has to die.

In case you missed it, here is a link to a video which was produced last year by Dr Ernie Ward.   You can see exactly how hot it gets inside a car, and how fast it happens.  You may be surprised.

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