You Can Help 

 Originally Written: August 5, 2011

By  Hanna Trafford

Last Updated on August 5, 2011 by Hanna Trafford

It has been a hot summer – and we are all loving it! But as it sometimes happens when things are good, something not so good will get my attention and I feel alsmost obligated to do what I can to raise some awareness. It is absolutely astounding to me, that some people still do this – leave their dog in a car on a hot summer day.

I actually had a personal experience that left me angry to say the least. While stopping to get a cool drink at a variety store which was next to a local coffee shop, I noticed a small dog who looked like Benji laying on a seat in a parked car next to the parking spot I pulled in. I waited for a few minutes, watching customers in the variety store and in the coffee shop to see if any of them were returning to their vehicle. When that didn’t happen, I was pretty sure that the owner of the dog was inside the coffee shop – in a nicely air-conditioned atmosphere, enjoying his afternoon cup of coffee. So I got out of my car and checked on the dog. He sat up but was panting quite heavily and didn’t move towards the window, even though I tried to coxed him to do so. I went into the coffee shop and asked who the owner of the red car parked outside was.An older man said it was his car and added:”Is there a problem?” It was pretty obvious to me that he knew darn well why I was asking. Making sure all other customers heard me, I asked him to please go take care of his dog who is starting show signs of distress from the heat. And believe it or not – the guy told me to mind my own business. Oh – sooo wrong! Because ignorance like that should not be tolerated. I realized that there were other customers in the coffee sho who didn’t like his response, so I told him that if he didn’t go take care of his dog immediately, I was going to report him. I already had the vehicle information so I politely recited his licence plate number to him and held up my cell phone to stress that I was serious. He got up – rather jumped up from his seat and so did 3 other guys – just in case he got too close to me and then those other good people took over and pretty much lead the guy out to his car. Then one of them returned and offered to buy me a coffee. He also said that personally he felt bad, because he saw the dog left in the car, but figured it was none of his business so he didn’t say anything.

This story makes me write this and hope that not only you would never leave your dog in a car – especially on a hot summer day,but also that if you see a helpless pet in a potential danger like this, that you will come to their rescue. Please remember:

When you park your car anywhere, take a look around and know, that even if there is a dog in a car which is parked in a shade or has a window opened a bit, it will not make any difference – that animal is still in great danger.

In fact, when it’s 22°C/72°F outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 47°C/117°F within 60 minutes.

Dog’s normal body temperature is 39C – if it reaches 41C the dog will experience heat stroke, suffer brain damage and die. And this information comes from Humane Society – it is not something I made up.

When The Humane Society receives a report about animal left in a hot vehicle, they will act on it. Cruelty officers can enter the vehicle to rescue the animal in immediate distress and in the least case scenario – if the owner is located – will issue a warning.These kinds of incidents are kept on records and if the offending person is out of town, that report will be forwards to the local humane society. Should the person offend again, there would a jail time, a fine plus a lifetime ban on pet ownership – all of that under the Criminal Code of Canada and provincial legislation.

Under the Criminal code, those found guilty of animal cruelty/neglect charges can face up to five years in prison and a $50,000 fine, plus a lifetime ban on pet ownership.

Under Ontario provincial legislation, similar charges will result in up to two years in prison, a $60,000 fine and lifetime ownership ban.

People need to use common sense – on a hot summer day, leave your pet at home. If you are on a vacation and have your pet with you, plan ahead so that you do not have the need to leave your furry friend in a car while you are enjoying yourself.

I am going to stress this one more time – never ever leave your dog in a car on a hot summer day and if you see a dog left in a vehicle . report it. Write down the location, description of the vehicle and the licence plate number. And please remember that time is abolutely crutial – it determines if the dog will live or die.

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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