SPCA New Zealand

SPCA appealing to owners not to leave dogs in cars during sizzling summer

30 November 2022

SPCA inspectors have already received several calls from concerned members of the public after spotting dogs locked in cars during the months of Spring.

SPCA appealing to owners not to leave dogs in cars during sizzling summer

Dogs being left inside hot cars is one of the biggest preventable welfare issues during summer, and SPCA Inspector Ben Lakomy says it’s disappointing the message still isn’t getting through to some pet owners.

“It is an offence under the Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Regulations 2018, to leave a dog in a hot vehicle if they are showing signs of heat stress, such as excessive panting, drooling or hyperventilation, and trying to seek shade,” says Mr Lakomy.

“When it's 21°C outside, temperatures in a car parked in the shade with the windows down can exceed 31°C in less than ten minutes. In 30 minutes, it goes up to 40°C. On a hot day, the temperature inside the vehicle can exceed 50°C.”

Pet owners, whose dogs are found in this state, can be issued with a $300 infringement notice.

“SPCA inspectors across the country have noticed a number of people in emergency housing where dogs are residing long term in vehicles, and we know this will become an issue going into summer,” continues Mr Lakomy.

“We’ve managed to mitigate welfare concerns and educate dog owners during the winter months, but it is very concerning coming into warmer weather.”

From 1 January 2022 to 22 December 2022, SPCA received 889* welfare complaints relating to dogs being left unattended inside hot cars.

SPCA CEO Gabby Clezy also encouraged dog owners to think again before leaving their dog in the car on hot days.

“A lot of people leave their dog in the car thinking they're only going to be a few minutes, but it’s important to always expect the unexpected,” says Ms Clezy. “You might find that you get to the store and the queue is longer than usual, or you bump into someone you know and start chatting, all while your dog is waiting in the car.

“If you’re planning on going out for a short time, leave your dog at home, or in the care of a friend, family member or neighbour. We know dogs are such important companions, but it’s important to put their welfare first.”

Ms Clezy encouraged those who were concerned about dogs left in cars showing signs of distress to contact SPCA.

*Correction in figure issued since earlier release

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