For Immediate Release:
July 29, 2020
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
San Jacinto, Calif. – Following recent reports that a dog had to be rescued from a hot car in Riverside County, PETA is issuing an urgent warning about the importance of never leaving animals in hot vehicles. Twenty-three animals have already died this year from heat-related causes, and because COVID-19 is prolonging store wait times and errands, PETA is concerned that this summer could see an unprecedented number of hot weather–related animal deaths.
On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar 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. Dogs, who don’t sweat and can cool themselves only by panting, can rapidly succumb to heatstroke, even if a vehicle is parked in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside.
Anyone who leaves animals outside to suffer in severe weather may be prosecuted for cruelty.
The following tips will help keep animal companions safe in hot weather:
- Keep animals indoors, and leave them at home when it’s hot outside. Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their locations and alert authorities immediately.
- Never leave an animal inside a hot vehicle. Temperatures can quickly soar in parked cars, and a dog trapped inside can die from heatstroke within minutes—even if the car is in the shade with the windows slightly open, which has little to no effect on lowering the temperature inside the car. PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help with intervening in life-or-death situations.
- Avoid hot pavement. When outdoor temperatures reach the 80s, asphalt temperatures can climb to 140 degrees, causing pain, burns, and permanent damage to dogs’ paws after just a few minutes of contact. Walk dogs on grass whenever possible, and avoid walking in the middle of the day. Never run with dogs in hot weather—they’ll collapse before giving up, at which point, it may be too late to save them.