Written by Michelle Kretzer
It shouldn't happen to any dog, let
alone those who are serving and protecting their communities as K9 officers. Numerous
police dogs lost their lives this summer not at the hands of criminals but at
the hands of the very officers who were supposed to protect them—and instead left them to suffer from heatstroke inside hot patrol cars. PETA is aiming to make those brave K9 victims the last ones, with urgent pleas
to police departments across the country asking them to install heat-alert systems in all K9 patrol cars.
Heat-alert systems monitor the
temperature inside the vehicle and can sound an alarm, page an officer, start
an engine, roll down a window and turn on a fan, or even open a door when the
car gets too hot. A simple device such as this would have saved the lives of Sasha, a police dog in Warwick,
Georgia; Harley from Des Moines,
Iowa; Vegas and Hades of San
Antonio, Texas; and the many other K9 officers who lost their lives just this past summer.
Many K9 officers now wear bulletproof
vests to protect them from gunshots, but heatstroke may be an even more
agonizing way to die. As the dogs' internal temperature rises, they often begin
to salivate heavily and lose control of their bladder and bowels, and shock may
set in. They become terrified and often struggle to escape the vehicle, clawing the car windows and seats so violently that their paws become bloodied.
No dog should ever be left alone in a car on a
warm day. But if a police officer decides to leave a K9 officer in the car to
protect the dog from a potentially deadly situation, he or she needs to make
sure that the car doesn't become one, too.
How many lawyers does it take to save a dog's life?
A: In this case, two, but they didn't need
to use their law degrees to do it.
attorneys Jeff Kerr and Jared Goodman (who work for animals' legal rights every day) were
on their way to talk about our landmark lawsuit in behalf of captive orcas when they spotted a dog trapped inside a car parked in the sun. The windows were
barely cracked, and although she had a water bowl, it was empty, and she was
panting heavily. There was no time to lose.
After having no luck searching for the
owner, our legal eagles called the police, but that was taking too long, so they
reached through a window and managed to unlock the door. The relieved pup flew
out and quickly gulped down a bowl of water.
When the dog's guardians finally returned,
Jeff and Jared were waiting to explain that even on a mild day, dogs inside
parked cars can sustain heatstroke
or even brain damage in just minutes. They thanked our caring counsel for likely saving their dog's
pass by a dog who has been left in a hot car. If you can't locate the owner,
call the police. If they are slow to arrive and the
dog's life appears to be in danger, try to find a witness who will back up your
assessment and get the suffering animal out via the least destructive means
Watch for heatstroke symptoms such as restlessness, excessive
thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid
heartbeat, fever, vomiting, or lack of coordination. If a dog shows any of
these symptoms, get him or her into the shade immediately and call a veterinarian.
Lower the animal's body temperature gradually by giving water to drink;
applying a cold towel or ice pack to the head, neck, and chest; or immersing
the dog in lukewarm (not cold) water.
You don't have to be a lawyer to leap to
an animal's defense.
officially summer—the season of cookouts, parks, and beaches.
Many of us enjoy taking our dogs along for summer fun, which is fantastic,
except when people forget that dogs' bodies aren't nearly as well equipped as ours
are to handle the soaring mercury and think that leaving their dogs alone in a hot car "for just a minute"
will be OK.
Photo: Jeremy Cowart for WeissArtists/www.jeremycowart.com Hair and makeup: Neil Robison for the David Agency
we think we're roasting in shorts and a T-shirt, then think about what it would
feel like to be wearing a heavy fur coat—not to mention that the only way that dogs
can cool themselves is by panting or sweating a small amount through their paw
pads. For dogs, sitting in a hot car for a few minutes is far more than simply
miserable—it is often deadly. That's why Elisabetta Canalis is partnering with
PETA on a new public service announcement urging guardians never to leave dogs
in hot cars:
can sustain brain damage or heatstroke in just 15 minutes—about the same amount
of time that it takes to pop into the store for beer and sunscreen. And that's
not just on a scorcher of a day either. On a 78-degree
day, the temperature inside a parked car with the windows cracked can soar to
between 100 and 120 in just minutes.
If you're out this summer and spot a dog inside a parked car, have
the owner of the vehicle paged. If you can't locate the owner quickly, then call
911 right away. If the dog appears restless, excessively thirsty, or lethargic;
is panting heavily or vomiting; or has a dark tongue, Fido most likely has
heatstroke, and you should take steps to get the dog out of the car
immediately, offer him water to drink, pour tepid water over his head and
torso, and call a veterinarian for advice.
Let's make sure that the dog days of summer are doggone safe for
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.