For Immediate Release:
July 18, 2019
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Omaha, Neb. – Following recent reports that five dogs have died in the past few weeks from heat exposure in Omaha, PETA is issuing an urgent warning about the importance of never leaving animals outdoors in extreme heat or in hot vehicles. Since last year, there have been at least 90 hot weather–related animal deaths—and these are just the ones that have been reported. Most aren’t.
The following tips will help keep animal companions safe in hot weather:
- Keep animals indoors. Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their paw pads 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.
Anyone who leaves an animal to bake to death in a vehicle or outdoors could face felony cruelty charges.
If you see a dog left alone in a hot car, call local humane authorities or the police. Don’t leave the scene until the situation has been resolved. If the authorities are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back up your assessment. Then remove the suffering animal from the car and wait for authorities to arrive.