Fort Saskatchewan municipal enforcement is asking residents not to break any windows when they see dogs left alone in vehicles.
With reports of dogs left waiting in parked cars bound to increase as the hot weather continues, municipal enforcement supervisor Matt Lowther reminds residents that there are better ways to come to the rescue of pets in distress.
“Call us, let us know exactly what's going on, exactly where it's happening, and wait by the vehicle for us to arrive,” Lowther said.
Cars can heat up surprisingly quickly in the summer. The Alberta SPCA reports that on a hot day the temperature inside a vehicle can reach 51 degrees C in as little as 10 minutes. It doesn’t take long for dogs left in vehicles to begin showing symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, conditions that can lead to irreversible brain damage or death.
Although passers-by may be tempted, breaking a vehicle’s windows may not be the best rescue plan for a number of reasons.
“Besides there being a risk of somebody getting charged with damaging the vehicle, the animal isn't going to be familiar with you and it may react with aggression,” Lowther said.
Freed animals may also step on broken glass or run into traffic, putting themselves and drivers at risk.
“So if you see an animal in a vehicle, call us right away,” Lowther said. “We will get there quickly. And then we have the tools to deal with that situation in the most effective way.”