For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2019
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – PETA’s fieldworkers spent this past week helping “backyard dogs” in Virginia and North Carolina––and despite the critically high temperatures that made even human breathing difficult, they found dogs chained and penned without adequate shade or any water at all. A dog in Roanoke Rapids named Dee Dee drank for over four minutes straight when PETA staff gave her water. Another dog couldn’t access water because his chain was tangled. Others had been left outside in blistering heat with no way to get out of the sun. Photos and video footage are available here and here.
As extremely high temperatures continue to grip the region, animals—who can quickly succumb to heatstroke if left outdoors—are at risk in hot weather. Since last year, there have been at least 94 hot weather–related animal deaths—and these are just the ones that have been reported. Most aren’t.
“From 100-degree days to frigid snowstorms, extreme weather can be a death sentence to dogs who are chained or penned outdoors,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “As the number of heat crises increases, PETA is urging municipalities to ban chaining and prevent dogs from experiencing terrifying, miserable deaths.”
Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted for cruelty.
The following tips will help keep animal companions safe in hot weather:
- Keep animals indoors. Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their paw pads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their location and alert authorities immediately.
- Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle. Temperatures can quickly soar in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die from heatstroke within minutes—even if the vehicle is in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help with intervening in life-or-death situations.
- Avoid hot pavement. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can climb to 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk dogs on grass whenever possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day. Never run with dogs in hot weather—they’ll collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.
Cities that have been alerted to PETA’s severe weather tips Roanoke Rapids and Raleigh, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Newport News, Hampton, and Smithfield, Virginia.