For Immediate Release:
July 20, 2021
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Des Moines, Iowa – Four dogs were rescued after being left inside hot cars on separate occasions in Des Moines over the weekend, and similar reports nationwide are rolling in at an out-of-control rate. For some dogs, including a K-9 who recently died after being left behind in a patrol car, help comes too late. Already this year, 22 dogs have reportedly died from heat-related causes. (The actual figure is likely far higher, as most heat-related companion animal deaths go unreported.)
This week’s high temperatures put dogs at a high risk of enduring heat prostration and dying, so PETA is issuing an urgent warning to anyone with a dog: Never leave them inside vehicles, and please be sure to do the following.
- Touch the pavement before walks to ensure that it won’t burn dogs’ foot pads.
- Be alert to a long, curled-up tongue and heavy panting, as dogs cannot sweat as humans can and heat builds up inside their bodies.
- Walk only in the shade or on earth or grass, and neverleave animals alone (On Memorial Day weekend, PETA fieldworkers discovered the body of a dog who had died after being left chained up in the hot sun.)
PETA thanks Des Moines police and other rescuers for taking action and urges everyone to support the Hot Cars Act of 2021, which would require automakers to install technology in vehicles to detect the presence of an animal or a child and alert drivers when someone is in the backseat.
Anyone who leaves animals in hot cars or outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted for cruelty.