Hot Cars Kill: PETA Seeks Warning Signs in Costco’s Parking Lots

Signs Would Alert Drivers That Children and Dogs Can Die of Heatstroke Within Minutes

For Immediate Release:
July 18, 2017

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Issaquah, Wash. – It’s only the middle of summer, yet this year alone, at least 27 dogs and 21 children have died after being left inside sweltering vehicles—and just last week, two dogs were rescued by police from a locked 98-degree car in a parking lot in Seattle. That’s why PETA wrote to Costco this week to urge the Issaquah-based retail chain to post signs in all parking lots and on store doors and windows to alert shoppers that it takes only a few minutes for children and animals to die of heatstroke inside a parked car.

In its letter to Costco CEO W. Craig Jelinek, PETA notes that on a relatively mild 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar up to 100 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in less than 10 minutes. When children are left in a hot vehicle, their body temperature can increase three to five times faster than an adult’s, and because dogs can cool themselves only by sweating through their paw pads and panting, they can suffer from heatstroke in just minutes.

“A parked car can be a death trap for children and dogs who can’t escape as temperatures soar and their bodies shut down,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging Costco to help prevent 2017 from becoming a record year for horrific deaths by heatstroke.”

Some Whole Foods, Walmart, and Loblaw stores have posted signs warning shoppers about the dangers of hot cars, and car companies are joining the effort, too: Tesla introduced a “Cabin Overheat Protection” feature, and General Motors developed a “Rear Seat Reminder.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—urges people who see a child or a dog in a parked car to take down the car’s color, make, model, and license plate number. If the car is in a store’s parking lot, they should have the owner paged over the store’s intercom. Otherwise, they should call local humane authorities or police. They should never leave until the individual is safe—and they should consider doing whatever it takes to get the child or animal to safety.

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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