Saying it’s hot outside is an understatement. When the mosquitoes won’t even venture outside for a blood-fest, you know it’s too hot.
The malls, the movie theaters – basically any air conditioned building – are packed full of people looking to cool off. Everywhere you turn, people are complaining about how hot it is and how uncomfortable they are. I went to an old-fashioned drive-in for dinner the other night, and people would hardly venture out of their cars to pick up their order for fear of leaving their air conditioned environment.
So if it’s that uncomfortable for humans, why is it that we are still seeing people leaving their pets in their cars while they run into the refreshing coolness of air conditioned buildings? The heat is just as uncomfortable for animals as it is for you – maybe worse!
Consider the fact that it’s been over 30 degrees consistently for days now. With the humidity, it feels like it’s in the 40s. There is no relief from the heavy, thick air. If you are one of the unfortunate folks without air conditioning in your car, like me, then you know that opening your window offers no relief whatsoever.
Again I ask, why are people leaving their pets in their cars? We hear this year, after year, after year. And still, people don’t get it! It seems like such a simple thing to understand. Opening the window a crack won’t do a thing to help those animals stay cool. In only a few minutes, your car will reach temperatures in excess of 50 degrees, turning your car into an oven. Our pets have no way to cool themselves off, as cats and dogs cannot sweat as humans do. All they can do is pant and dispel heat through the pads of their feet, and that is simply not enough. They cannot fan themselves, they cannot open the door to let themselves out, and they cannot open a bottle of water to drink or pour on their heads. They are helpless! They rely 100% on their owners to take care of them.
Our pets are our companions, our friends. Why would a pet owner risk heatstroke, brain damage and even death to their furry friend? If anyone thinks that being in a sweltering car for 15 minutes with the window rolled down a crack is enough to keep cool, I challenge them to try sitting in that car themselves first.
Under NO circumstances should pets ever be left alone in a vehicle – no matter what season it is. If you have to go out somewhere, leave your pet at home in a comfortable environment. It may only be 15 minutes for you, but for them, it becomes a matter of life and death.
If you spot a vehicle with an animal inside of it, and no owner around, I strongly advise you to take note of the vehicle license plate and head into the building that the vehicle is parked near. Try to get an announcement made over the intercom to find the owner, or let management know. If the owner does not return within a few minutes, call The WHS Emergency line (982-2020) or the police (911).
If you’re a pet owner, please don’t ever leave your furry friend alone in a vehicle for any length of time. If you see an animal in a car with nobody around, please don’t just walk away. Do something! When an animal suffers an injury or death in a hot vehicle, it’s a tragedy and it’s preventable. Let’s make sure no animals are hurt or killed because they’ve been left alone in vehicles. Let’s make sure people get this message this time!
By Candace Weselowski, WHS Volunteer