For Immediate Release:
June 24, 2020
Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – With high temperatures forecast for the Norfolk area, animals—who can quickly succumb to heatstroke if left outdoors or in a parked car——are at risk. As of July 1, it is illegal to keep a dog tethered outside in Virginia if the temperature reaches 84 degrees or higher. Four dogs have already died from heat-related causes before the start of summer—and since social distancing because of COVID-19 extends store wait times and prolongs errands, PETA is concerned that this summer could see an unprecedented number of hot weather–related animal deaths.
Anyone who leaves animals outside or in vehicles 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. Unlike humans, dogs can sweat only through their footpads and cool themselves by panting, so even brief sun exposure can have life-threatening consequences. A new Virginia law prohibits leaving dogs tethered outside during storms and if the temperature is over 84 degrees. 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.