SSPCA warning to dog owners

ANIMAL welfare officials are pleading with Borders pet owners not to leave their dogs in hot cars this summer, warning that doing so could lead to tragedy, writes Mark Entwistle.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is concerned that some owners do not understand the risks, even though dogs have died having been left in hot cars.

Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn told TheSouthern: “We aren’t scaremongering. The fact is that dogs have died horrific deaths having been left in hot cars in Scotland,” he said.

“Many more will also have been caused a great deal of suffering, which may or may not have been noticed by their owners when they returned to their cars. Too many owners mistakenly believe that winding down a window or leaving a bowl of water is enough. Some owners also don’t realise that leaving their dog for a short period of time is risking its life as cars can heat up very quickly.

“Another common problem is owners not understanding that cars can become far too hot even on warm, cloudy days. Clearly these owners don’t know how a dog’s body works and the suffering they may be inflicting on their pet.

“Sadly, we have dealt with cases where dogs have died because their body temperatures have increased to the point where they have effectively been boiled alive from the inside. The suffering these poor dogs endured would have been horrendous.”

Last year the Scottish SPCA received 240 calls regarding dogs left in hot cars – including several from the Borders – and has already received 82 calls nationwide this year following an unusually warm spring.

“Our advice is to leave dogs at home and make adequate arrangements for feeding or exercise needs,” added CS Flynn. “It is far kinder than subjecting them to a very uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation. Causing an animal unnecessary suffering is an offence and anyone found guilty of doing so can be fined and even banned from owning animals.

“However, there would be no greater punishment than an owner returning to their car to find their dog has died a horrible death due to their own ignorance.”

Scottish SPCA posters highlighting the dangers are available to be displayed in local communities. To request copies please phone the charity’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999 and select option 5. Alternatively email, providing the address you wish your posters to be sent to and the number you wish to receive.