Thursday, July 8, 2010

OHS removes two dogs found in hot cars over past two days

The Ottawa Humane Society (OHS) has removed two dogs found sweltering inside hot cars over the past two days.

OHS agents responded to a call about a dog left in a hot car at the Ottawa Hospital's General campus on Wednesday morning. The dog, a German shepherd mix, was spotted scorching inside a minivan with the windows cracked open a few centimetres. The outdoor temperature at the time was 31°C, and 41°C with the humidex. The temperature inside the car registered 44°C.

The agent was able to unlock the vehicle through the open window and rescue the dog, who was immediately cooled down inside the air conditioned OHS van, and driven back to the shelter for veterinary care.

OHS agents responded to another call about a dog in a car at the same campus of the hospital on Tuesday. The car had been parked in a parking garage, but was exposed to full sun. The dog was panting and vomiting, prompting the agent to remove the overweight Maltese mix, and rush it to the shelter for veterinary attention.

Since the beginning of June, the OHS has responded to more than 75 calls about dogs left in hot vehicles. Four dogs have been removed in that time, all belonging to owners residing outside of city limits.

"We're appealing to visitors to the city to leave their dogs at home," said OHS Inspector, Miriam Smith. "If you're coming into town to run errands or visit someone at the hospital, do your pet a favour and don't bring him along."

With the current severe weather conditions, the temperatures inside a car can ratchet up to dangerous temperatures within minutes. Opening windows or even parking in shade does little to reduce the heat inside. Animals left in these conditions can suffer from brain damage, organ failure or ultimately death. The OHS advises all pet owners to leave their animals at home during hot weather, with access to plenty of water, in cool and shady spaces.

In both of this week's removals, the owners of the dogs claimed their animals after receiving warning tickets and paying associated removal fees. OHS agents have authority to remove animals in distress, under the authority of the Ontario SPCA Act, and lay charges. If you spot an animal inside a hot vehicle, please call the OHS emergency line at 613-725-1532 immediately.

Although legally mandated to enforce the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario SPCA Act, the OHS does not receive any government funding or funding from any animal welfare group to perform this essential work.

Photo by Jeremy Corby.

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