For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2019
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Oklahoma City – Following recent reports that a 4-year-old boy was left in a hot car outside Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City, PETA is issuing an urgent warning: Vulnerable individuals are at risk and should never be left in a vehicle on a hot day. Animals, children, and elderly people are the most susceptible to the heat, and one mistake can cost someone’s life.
Since last year, there have been at least 94 hot weather–related animal deaths—and these are just the ones that have been reported. Most aren’t. PETA suggests doing the following in order to safeguard humans and animals:
- Never leave anyone inside a hot vehicle. 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.
- If you see an animal left alone inside a car, call local humane authorities or 911 immediately and remain on the scene until the situation has been resolved. If authorities are unresponsive or too slow and the animal’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness who will back up your assessment before carefully removing the animal from the car (PETA offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help intervening in these life-or-death situations) and carrying him or her into the shade.
- To treat suspected heatstroke, wrap a cool, wet towel around the head and neck without covering the eyes, nose, or mouth, and wring out, resoak, and reapply it every few minutes. Pour lukewarm water over the animal’s body, and wipe excess water away, especially from the abdomen and between the hind legs. When authorities arrive, ensure that the animal is taken to a veterinarian for further care.
Law-enforcement officials across the country are also warning people of the dangers of hot weather. “Every year, we alert people to the danger of leaving children or pets inside cars in the summer,” says Chief of Police James R. Kruger Jr. from Oak Brook, Illinois. “The temperature inside a vehicle climbs approximately 43 degrees in just an hour. The loss of a defenseless animal in this manner is avoidable and should never happen. There is no reason to take your pet out in extreme heat without adequate air conditioning and water.”
Anyone who leaves a child or an animal to bake to death in a vehicle could face felony charges.
PETA has released a hot-car public service announcement featuring Mckenna Grace. For more information, visit PETA.org.