With temperatures on the rise and an incident in Greater Victoria, advocates are reminding residents to leave their pets at home.
Eileen Drever, B.C. SPCA senior officer protection and stakeholder relations, said animals generally – and dogs specifically – can overheat very quickly.
“Frankly, it is best to leave them at home in a cool place with water,” she said. “Don’t take them with you.”
Signs of heatstroke include exaggerated panting, rapid or erratic pulse, salivating, anxious or staring expression, weakness or lack of coordination, vomiting, convulsions, and collapse.
If residents come across an animal in a hot vehicle, Drever advised them to check shops in the area to find the owner and advise them the animal is in distress.
“If it is really panting and if it is going downhill fast, contact the RCMP or your local police. They have the authority to enter the vehicle lawfully,” she said. Members of the public can also contact the B.C. SPCA at 1-855-622-7722.
If an animal is showing symptoms of heatstroke, she advised moving it immediately to a cool, shady place. Animals should also be wetted with cool water, fanned vigorously to promote evaporation, and given cool water – or ice cream if no water is available.
Owners should not apply ice and animals should receive veterinary care as soon as possible.
But it’s not just the heat that has animal advocates offering reminders.
“If anybody sees animals travelling in an unsafe manner, not only should they contact us, but I would advise them to contact the RCMP as well,” Drever said. “We are limited in the number of staff we have and the RCMP may have members on the highway, with which they can follow.”
It is an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act to transport a living animal on the running board, fender, hood or other exterior parts of a motor vehicle unless in a suitable cage, carrier or guard rail is provided and is attached adequately to protect the animal from falling or being thrown from the vehicle.
Sidney resident Martha Kenny is also warning motorists this week.
Kenny was walking her two dogs on Bevan Avenue last September when a truck carrying two rottweilers passed her.
“The rottweilers were very aroused, they were barking frantically and lunging towards us, pulling at their chains,” Kenny said. “I assume they were targeting my dogs but my dogs had done nothing to attract their attention or to fuel their aggression.”
With the truck just past Kenny, one of the dogs fell from the truck bed. “I saw it hanging by its collar outside the truck and swinging against the side of the truck,” Kenny said. “I screamed and the truck stopped.”
The rottweiler then fell out of its collar and started walking along Bevan Avenue.
The vehicle pulled into a nearby parking lot and two men eventually recovered the dog.
Kenny said she is bringing this incident to the public’s attention because she is concerned about how the rottweilers were transported and doesn’t want to see it happen again.
“The situation I saw could have resulted in serious injury or death to the dog — it could have broken its neck or fallen in front of another vehicle.”
She reported the incident to the authorities.
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