For Immediate Release:
May 5, 2023
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Fort Myers, Fla. – With temperatures rising and summer around the corner, PETA is launching a messaging blitz in convenience stores across the City of Palms, alerting people to the danger hot cars pose to vulnerable animals and children. The warnings seek to prevent tragedies like an incident last year in which a local man was arrested after leaving his dog in a car while he ran errands and the dog succumbed to heatstroke.
PETA points out that even 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. In the local case last year, authorities estimated that temperatures could have reached 130 degrees in the man’s car. As the temperature climbs, dogs endure agonizing physical reactions to the heat: They go into shock, vomit blood, urinate, have diarrhea, and can experience multi-organ failure, cardiopulmonary arrest, fluid buildup in the lungs, muscle tremors, seizures, unconsciousness, and, finally, death.
“Hot cars and dogs don’t mix,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is urging everyone to be ‘vehicle vigilantes’ this summer and do whatever it takes to keep vulnerable animals and children out of these death traps.”
In 2022 alone, at least 54 dogs died from heat-related causes and another 469 animals were rescued from potentially deadly situations—but since these numbers include only incidents reported in the media, the actual figures are surely far higher.
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 the owner can’t be found and if authorities are unresponsive, do whatever it takes to save the individual’s life. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer to help intervene in life-or-death situations. The group offers additional information on how to respond, including a handy five-step guide, here.
PETA’s ad will appear at the cash registers of 10 local convenience stores, including Scott’s Wespak Meat & Convenience Store, Ortiz Food Stores, and JP Food Store. The group is also running the ad in stores in several other cities nationwide, including Orlando and Las Vegas, that have had fatal or near-fatal incidents involving hot cars.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.