Hot Cars Kill: Warning Signs Urgently Needed in Parks, PETA Says

After a Dog Is Rescued From Inside a 130-Degree Car, Group Wants Reminders for Motorists That Children and Dogs Can Die of Heatstroke Within Minutes

For Immediate Release:
July 13, 2017

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

St. Louis

Today, PETA sent a letter to the St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry urging it to post PETA’s warning signs around Forest Park and other city parks to remind visitors that it takes only a few minutes for children and animals to die of heatstroke inside a parked car. The potentially lifesaving push comes after Humane Society of Missouri workers rescued a dog from a 130-degree car at the Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park on Tuesday and fatalities have been reported across the country during this sizzling-hot summer.

In its letter, PETA notes that on a relatively mild 80-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach 99 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can climb to 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 locked car can be a death trap for trapped children and dogs whose bodies shut down as they’re set ablaze by the sun,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is asking park officials to put up our signs in order to help prevent 2017 from becoming a record year for horrific deaths by heatstroke.”

PETA (whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”) notes that this year alone, at least 27 dogs and 19 children have died after being left inside sweltering vehicles—and it’s only the middle of summer. People who see a child or a dog in a parked car should 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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