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Dog left in 40-degree car

Another of man's best friends was put at risk Friday morning in Kelowna after being left in a car for over 30 minutes. The inside temperature of the vehicle reached 42 degrees.

Just after 10 a.m. Scott Hermanson was walking into The Real Canadian Superstore to collect supplies for his food truck company when he saw the little dog in distress and acted.

“I noticed the little dog barking in a car with Alberta plates with all the windows rolled up,” explains Hermanson.

Immediately he says he called dog control and the SPCA and then went on a hunt for the owner. He had a tip, from a fellow shopper of what the owner looked like.

“I said to him how would you like to be locked inside your car with the windows up right now?”, said an angry Hermanson. “I told him, 'we don't appreciate people locking dogs in their cars.'"

He says that he warned the man he had called police and wanted to give him a chance to rectify the situation.

“I gave him the benefit of the doubt to go outside and sit with his dog, but he went outside and all he did was roll the windows down a crack and walk back in the store,” says Hermanson in disbelief.

He says he could tell the dog needed help and he was ready to take action himself.

“The dog was in distress, it was panting like crazy. I was at the point where I was going to break the window out. I asked the RCMP if it was alright to break the window and save the dog, and they told me no.”

Shortly after that the SPCA arrived and conducted readings on the car and the crowd around the car grew, prompting the owners to come back outside.

“The owner came out and obviously some members of the public were quite obviously frustrated and upset with these people. I spoke with the owners and explained to them that they cannot be leaving their animals in their vehicle and issued them a BCSPCA order and then dog control also attended,” explained BC SPCA responder Special Provincial Constable Dan Chapman.

He says when they got there they found the dog in the car with two of the windows open about an inch and the animal was hiding in the foot well with the sun directly on the car.

“It was 14 degrees outside and we used our temperature gun and inside the vehicle it was actually over 40 degrees,” says Chapman who adds the dog had been inside for at least 30-minutes without water.

“An animal always has to have access to water and in this case the animal had no access to water, the owner claims they gave it water before it was left in the car, but either way an animal cannot be left in a vehicle in warm temperatures, it is illegal in Kelowna and they can be fined.

Hermanson says when the owners came out they couldn't believe why he and others were so upset that her dog was in her car with the windows rolled up. A problem, Chapman says, the BC SPCA constantly deals with.

“We have to educate everyone, some people don't realize and don't think they are doing wrong,” says Chapman. “A vehicle is like an oven, there is no circulation, even with windows open it doesn't matter, and that windshield magnifies everything. The dog cannot let itself out of the vehicle and once it starts reading temperatures over 42 degrees that's when things like organ failure starts to happen.”

Hermanson hopes this story and so many like it, including another one in Kelowna just a few weeks ago, will save more dogs as the summer temps climb.

“I just want to bring awareness to it, 45 degrees in the car and dogs die and that takes no time, it wasn't even that hot this morning.”

Witnesses on the scene say Kelowna Dog Control attended and issued the owners a $150 ticket, but Regional District of Central Okanagan communications Bruce Smith says the owner was only issued a warning ticket as the SPCA informed them the dog was not in distress once it was saved from the vehicle. 

Please contact the BC SPCA Call Centre: 1 (855) 6BC SPCA (1-855-622-7722) toll free to report animal cruelty, neglect, and animals in distress, including wildlife.

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