RSPCA inspectors were alerted to 10 dogs left in hot cars at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials (4-8 May), after members of the public felt concerned for their welfare.
The charity has now issued advice to the public on what to do if they are concerned about the welfare of an animal in this situation.
Temperatures were particularly warm at this year’s event, reaching 20C at the weekend.
“Thankfully all of the dogs were okay, though the inspector stressed they would not have been had they been left longer and not spotted by those who reported them,” an RSPCA spokesman told H&H. “It’s a really important message to remind people that it’s just not worth the risk.”
During the same weekend, the RSPCA had 210 calls nationwide relating to dogs in hot environments — most often in cars, but sometimes in other environments, such as conservatories and caravans.
The charity offered the following advice:
“In an emergency, it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police,” said inspector Anthony Joynes.
“The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.
“If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke — such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting — call 999 immediately.”
The charity reminds the public that although it may be tempting to break a window to save an animal, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage.
They advise telling the police of your intentions and taking photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses.
The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.
Once removed from the car, the RSPCA advises moving the dog to a shaded or cool area and dousing the animal with cool water, as well as allowing it to drink small amounts of cool water.
However, if the dog is not displaying signs of heatstroke, they suggest establishing how long the dog has been in the car and making a note of the vehicle’s registration.
“Ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy, if possible, and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition,” added an RSPCA spokesman.