Despite media coverage and public awareness campaigns about leaving pets in hot cars, Sault Ste. Marie Police Services were dispatched to an incident in a downtown parking lot Tuesday.
Sault Ste. Marie Police tell Saultonline.com that at about 4pm Tuesday, three dogs were locked in a parked vehicle in a downtown parking lot for 45 minutes. The windows were completely rolled up and the temperature at the time was 36c.
“The dogs were clearly in distress” said Jane Martynuck from Police Services. Officers broke a window in the vehicle to save the dogs. “The investigation is on-going”
The dogs were put in the safety of the Sault Humane Society. No word on any charges at this time.
The photo taken from a witness was posted on Facebook yesterday. It has since been shared hundreds of times and comments condemning the owners continue Wednesday.
Extreme heat conditions with temperatures exceeding 35c in the city means a car can heat up within minutes often causing heat stroke or death. A vehicle’s interior temperature can double in about ten minutes time.
Statement From Police
On the 28th of July shortly before 4 pm officers from the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service received a call to the downtown area regarding three dogs in distress that were locked in a vehicle.
The Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society was also notified. The officer broke a window in the vehicle as it was apparent the animals were in distress. The animals were taken into the care of the Humane Society.
Officers from Patrol Services are continuing the investigation into this incident.
Since the beginning of July the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service has received 7 calls of pets locked inside vehicles.
The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service would like to remind the public not to leave pets in vehicles during the hot summer months. Temperatures can still soar up to 40 to 60 degrees Celsius inside a vehicle even when parked in the shade or if the windows are slightly lowered. Pet owners can also become distracted and lose track of time.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) indicates that animals can die from excessive heat. Temperatures about 30 Celsius can feel like 70 Celsius to a dog in a car.
If a person has concern for a pet locked inside a vehicle they are asked to first attempt to contact the Humane Society at 705-949-3573. If unsuccessful in reaching the organization or if based on the circumstances the person feels a delay in response may endanger the animal, contact the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service at 705-949-6300.
Police discourage concerned citizens from attempted to force entry into a locked vehicle themselves so as to avoid injury, possible confrontation with the vehicle/pet owner, and even criminal or civil litigation. Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service are trained and have legislative authority to gain entry.
A person who owns, has custody or care of an animal can be charged under the Society for the Prevention and Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Act for Permitting Distress. Convictions under the SPCA Act can result in sentences that may include up to two years in jail, fines of up to $60,000 and a lifetime ban on animal ownership, as well as other penalties.