For Immediate Release:
July 7, 2022
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Riverdale, Utah – Following news that a dog in Salt Lake City died after being left in a hot car—and because similar tragedies are now on the rise nationwide—PETA has plastered two sky-high messages just outside the city on I-15, warning passersby that leaving dogs and children in hot cars can quickly turn deadly. One display is now up in Riverdale, with a second just a few minutes south in Layton.
On a 75-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 94 degrees in just 10 minutes, and on a 90-degree day, it can reach 109 degrees in just minutes. As the temperature climbs, dogs in cars endure agonizing symptoms: They go into shock, vomit blood, urinate and have diarrhea, and can experience multi-organ failure, cardiopulmonary arrest, fluid buildup in the lungs, muscle tremors, seizures, unconsciousness, and, finally, death.
“Because temperatures in a parked car can reach triple digits within minutes, even with the windows slightly open, leaving a dog or a child locked inside can end in tragedy,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “This summer, PETA is reminding everyone that the safest place for our most vulnerable family members is indoors, where it’s cool.”
Already this year, 12 dogs and 10 children have died inside hot cars. In 2021, at least 59 animals died from heat-related causes and another 145 animals were reported as being rescued from potentially deadly situations—and 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 take immediate action: Call 911. Then write down the vehicle’s color, make, model, 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 what it takes to save the individual’s life. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help with intervening in life-or-death situations.
PETA also urges everyone to be on the lookout for dogs who are in need of assistance in extreme temperatures, including those who may be experiencing heatstroke symptoms, and advises everyone to do the following:
- Put palm to 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 never leave animals outdoors in extreme heat. Last summer, PETA fieldworkers discovered the body of a dog who had died after being left chained up in the hot sun, with similar reports nationwide.
PETA’s billboards are located at 1756 W. 4800 S. in Riverdale and at 1597 Woodland Park Dr. in Layton. 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, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.