For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2020
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
York County, Va. – Following recent reports that two cats died and 12 others along with a dog had to be rescued after being left in a hot truck in York County, PETA is issuing an urgent warning about the importance of never leaving animals outdoors in extreme heat or in hot vehicles. Ten animals have already died this year from heat-related causes, and since dogs are being taken to protests and 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 70-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 99 degrees in 20 minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. Cats and dogs—who can’t cool themselves by sweating—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. As protests are currently sweeping the country, this reminder is especially important for dogs, who need to rehydrate frequently and may quickly overheat and burn their paws on hot pavement.
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 an animal 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.