The North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP, in partnership with Cowichan Community Policing, want to raise public awareness on how to respond when people see a dog in a hot car and, more importantly, to spread the education and prevention message.
RCMP Const. Carlie McCann said the detachment has already received calls from concerned citizens about animals in vehicles this spring but, so far, local police have not been required to rescue any dogs from overheated vehicles.
“We hope that the community will keep pet safety in mind as the temperatures rise this summer,” she said.
“If there is an animal in distress in a vehicle, community members are asked to make a note of the licence plate and vehicle details (make, model, colour) as well as where the car is located, and contact the BC SPCA or local RCMP.”
McCann said police responded to numerous calls over the summer of 2018 about animals in cars, but owners were generally located before police intervention was necessary or, in many cases, returned to their vehicles and pets before police attended.
“This indicates that if dogs are being left in cars, it is likely only for a short period, so I would remind people that the temperature inside of a car can increase unexpectedly quickly to unsafe levels, putting pets in danger,” she said.
The local RCMP and members of CCP are using the Community Canine Heatstroke Responder program designed by Michelle Sevigny, the founder of Dogsafe, and former professional dog trainer and police officer, to help to deal with the issue.
Dogsafe has designed a “Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist” designed to keep members of the public calm by laying out a step-by-step guide that includes steps like assessing the dog, calling the BCSPCA Animal Cruelty line or police, to help bystanders document actions that may assist in a cruelty or criminal investigation.
The form is also available on a free downloadable app at https://www.dogsafe.ca/heatstroke-responder.html
The Dogsafe group also has decals for placing on your vehicle that show “my dog is home chilling”.
Both the checklist and the vehicle magnet are available for free through the Duncan Community Policing Office, located at 149 Canada Ave., in Duncan.
“Sadly many people still leave their animals in their vehicles on hot days. By partnering with Dogsafe, we hope to spread information throughout the North Cowichan and Duncan areas to people who may come across these animals in distress,” said Inspector Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment.