Readers Write: Hot hounds
August 15, 2008
Having previously lived in areas where it was not uncommon to see dogs kept in cages, day and night, with minimum human contact, it is an absolute joy to be now living in a region where our canine companions are rightfully treated as members of the family.
This summer, however, I have noticed something regarding our pets that would be disturbing to any fellow animal lover. On numerous occasions, I’ve observed dogs left in cars for significant amounts of time. This is obviously upsetting because of the heat factor and how quickly it can escalate in a small, enclosed space, thus endangering the pet. (Even the best intentioned “short trip” often turns into a longer time without us even realizing it.) Our pet then becomes a helpless captive in a rapidly debilitating environment while we complete our business or errands.
The accumulation of heat inside one’s car has the potential to cause brain damage or kill your pet very quickly, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Taking measures such as leaving the car windows partly down or parking in the shade do not alleviate the problem. Our pets cannot sweat like we do, so with only overheated air to breathe, an animal will not be able to survive very long. On an average summer day, the heat in a car becomes unbearable in just a matter of a few short minutes. Please do not subject your pet to this. It is inhumane.
On the flip side, if you happen to see an animal in this circumstance, please go the extra mile to locate its owner so that the situation can be remedied. Store personnel can make announcements over their loudspeakers to help in this effort if they are provided with identifying information such as car make, model, etc. Let’s be positive advocates for these creatures who cannot speak for themselves.