Joanne Shonwise may not be a dog owner, but that doesn't mean she doesn't care for canines.
Shonwise, a Garson residents, is reminding dog owners to not leave their pets inside cars on hot days. The suffering of a dog in just that instance is something she's seen first hand.
On June 16, during a trip to Canadian Tire in Sudbury, she noticed a small dog inside a vehicle. The vehicle's windows were open about two inches, she said.
Noticing the dog's discomfort, she waited around for the dog's owner. That was at 3:15 p.m. She also took a photo of the licence plate.
Shonwise went in to do her shopping, but when she emerged 20 minutes later, the car and the panting dog were still there.
She went back into the store to have customer service announce the licence plate over the public announcement system. When the dog's owner didn't show up, she had the licence plate announced again.
By this time, other bystanders had gathered near the vehicle, all of them growing increasingly concerned.
Finally, the owner showed up, she said.
“I gave her a blast, and I wanted to embarrass her, but she didn't say anything,” Shonwise said.
Shonwise knows this happens all too often, and just wants Sudburians to know the dangers of leaving dogs unattended in vehicles during hot days.
The Ontario SPCA receives hundreds of reports of pets being left in cars every year. Parked cars can quickly reach deadly temperatures, even on relatively mild days with the car parked in the shade and the windows slightly open. It is an owner’s responsibility to ensure their pet is not left in situations that can easily cause severe distress or even death.
Dogs have a limited ability to sweat; even a short time in a hot environment can be life threatening. A dog's normal body temperature is about 39 C and a temperature of 41 C can be withstood only for a very short time before irreparable brain damage or even death can occur, said the OSPCA.
If heat stroke is suspected (excessive panting and drooling, listlessness or unconsciousness) prompt veterinary medical attention is vital. In the meantime, wet the fur immediately with lukewarm to cool water, not cold water. Bring the pet into the shade and offer drinking water.
If you observe an animal suffering in the heat, contact the Ontario SPCA or your local humane society at 310-SPCA (7722), or call your local police services.