Every year thousands of animals succumb to the heat after being left unattended in cars, while their often well-meaning owner does a spot of shopping or runs some errands.
Despite constant warnings, many simply just don’t realise how quickly an animal can perish inside a vehicle, even when temperatures outside aren’t extreme.
To combat this ever-increasing problem, a shopping mall in Canada has launched a pet patrol program to prevent their customers from leaving their animals in their vehicles while they shop.
Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia decided to debut the pet patrol program after police had to break into a car to rescue an overheated dog left in a parking lot last month.
The program will involve staff, dressed in neon shirts, monitoring car parks surrounding the shopping centre, on the look out for pets trapped in vehicles, taking note of signs such as a cracked window.
Once an animal is spotted, security will attempt to contact the owner and if unsuccessful, mall patrols will then contact local law enforcement.
While it is ultimately the owner’s responsibility to keep their animals safe, the problem only seems to be worsening, with many assuming it is fine to leave their pet in the car for a short time or on a mild day.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – Dogs don’t do very well in the heat, because their only means of cooling off is by panting or sweating through their paw pads.
PETA explains that on a 30 degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle could rise to almost 40 degrees in merely 10 minutes. Five minutes more and an animal can suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke.
While Mic Mac Mall is not the first in Canada to debut the service, it is still a relatively new concept, which will hopefully be heading this side of the globe sometime soon.