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Burnaby firefighters, police try to break into sweltering vehicle to save dog

BC SPCA offers tips on what to do if you see a dog left unattended in a hot car

A dog is lucky to be alive after being left in a locked vehicle on a sweltering day in Burnaby.

At 3 p.m. on Friday, Burnaby firefighters and RCMP were called to a house on Government Road for a dog locked in a car.

Firefighters and police officers attempted to open the door but were unable (the photo above shows someone using a long piece of metal). A tow truck was called in and the tow operator was able to open the door and let the dog out.

It’s reported that the owners of the house locked the dog in the car by accident.

If you need to leave your pets in a parked car, leave them at home.

This is the message from BC SPCA to pet owners as record high temperatures are expected this week across the province.

The provincial animal agency is urging pet owners to leave their pets at home if there is any chance the animal will be left in the car even for a minute.

Lorie Chortyk, general manager of communities for BC SPCA, said the agency received over 800 calls about animals in distress in hot cars last year.

“We can’t stress strongly enough how dangerous it is to leave your pet in a hot car,” said Chortyk.

“The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with windows partially open, can rapidly reach a level that can seriously harm or even kill a pet.”

She added that dogs have no sweat glands and only cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws.

Symptoms of heatstroke in pets include exaggerated panting, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness, lack of coordination and vomiting.

Older dogs and breeds of dogs with compressed faces, such as pugs, bulldog and Boston terriers are particularly at risk.

“It is a completely preventable tragedy for both the poor animal and their distraught guardian,” said Chortyk.

What to do if you see a distressed dog in a parked vehicle:

  • Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle.
  • Call BC SPCA, animal control or law enforcement if an animal is in distress. Do not break the window to access the vehicles.
  • Spread the word that it is dangerous for pets to stay in hot vehicles.

Anyone who sees animals showing signs of heatstroke or general distress are asked to call the BC SPCA at 1-855-622-7722 during business hours or contact the local animal control agency or police.

  • With additional  reporting by Valerie Leung, Richmond News