‘Don’t Leave Them,’ Says Danai Gurira: Hot Cars Are Fatal for Dogs

For Immediate Release:
September 29, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – Ahead of an autumn heat wave expected to shatter records and following the hottest summer ever, Danai Gurira is stepping up as a hero for animals with her beloved dog, Papi, in a new PETA ad reminding everyone that dogs should never be left alone in parked cars—not even for a “quick errand”—as temperatures there can soar to triple digits within minutes.

Danai Gurir saving dog from hot car for PETA adPhoto: © Matt Sayles

“I would never risk Papi’s life by leaving him alone in a car. He’s family. If he were in trouble, I would do anything to save him,” says Gurira. “My friends at PETA and I are urging everyone to be a warrior for animals. If you see a dog alone in a parked car, do whatever it takes to save them.”

At least 149 companion animals have died from heat-related causes in 2023—nearly triple the amount of deaths reported last year. (The actual figure is likely far higher, as most deaths go unreported.) PETA points out that when it’s 75 degrees outside, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 94 degrees in just 10 minutes, and when it’s 90 degrees outside, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 109 degrees in just minutes. As the temperature climbs, dogs endure agonizing physical reactions to the heat: They go into shock, vomit blood, urinate, suffer from diarrhea, and can experience multi-organ failure, cardiopulmonary arrest, fluid buildup in the lungs, muscle tremors, seizures, unconsciousness, and, finally, death.

Anyone who sees a dog or a child in a parked car should never leave the scene and should take immediate action: Call 911. Then write down the vehicle’s make, model, color, and license plate number and rush to have nearby stores page the owner. If authorities are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness and take the necessary steps to remove them from the car.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and offers an emergency window-breaking hammer on its website. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind