Kelowna BC SPCA partners with Regional District and RCMP to prevent pet fatalities

2017-06-07 15:32 PDT

With temperatures warming up in the Okanagan, The BC SPCA Kelowna branch, the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) Animal Control, and Kelowna RCMP and gathered at Orchard Park Mall today (June 7) for a public awareness campaign on the dangers of leaving pets unattended in hot vehicles.

The BC SPCA Kelowna branch, the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) Animal Control, and Kelowna RCMP and gathered at Orchard Park Mall today

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Each summer our agencies receive hundreds of emergency calls to rescue dogs whose lives are endangered because they are left in hot cars, says Sean Hogan, BCSPCA Kelowna Branch manager. Many well-meaning guardians leave their pets in parked vehicles while they run errands, thinking they will be safe for a short period. Tragically, in hot weather their pets can suffer serious heatstroke and die in a matter of minutes.

We make it a priority to respond as quickly as possible, but we would rather see the problem addressed through education and prevention before an animal is put in a potentially fatal situation, says Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

All three agencies note that each time an officer is dispatched to rescue an animal in a parked car, it stretches resources required for other emergency calls. This is a preventable problem and we strongly urge all pet guardians to leave their animals at home during hot days, says RDCO communications officer Bruce Smith.

The temperature in a parked car, even in the shade with windows partly open, can rapidly reach a level that will seriously harm or even kill a pet. In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Dogs have no sweat glands, so they cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws.

On summer days the hot air and upholstery in a vehicle can make it impossible for pets to cool themselves. Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time – usually just 15 to 20 minutes - before suffering irreparable internal organ and brain damage or death.

If you’re used to letting your pets accompany you on errands, you might feel guilty leaving them behind on hot summer days. But they will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh, cool water, Hogan says. If you must travel with your pets, keep them cool.

What to do if you see a dog in distress in a parked vehicle:
Symptoms of heatstroke in pets:
If your pet shows symptoms of heatstroke:
For further information:

Sean Hogan, manager, BC SPCA Kelowna Branch, 250.861.7722 ext. 1709 or

Bruce Smith, Communications and Intergovernmental Affairs Officer, Regional District of Central Okanagan, 250-469-6339 or

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, media relations, Kelowna RCMP, 250-470-6361 or


Released by

Cpl. Jesse O'Donaghey

Media Relations Officer
Kelowna RCMP
1190 Richter Street, Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 2K7
Office: (250) 762-3300
Fax: (250) 470-6348


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