VIDEO: Dogs left in car during Toronto’s extreme cold alert
Toronto is shivering under an extreme cold weather alert and many residents are bundling up against the frigid weather but some may not be taking the same care with their pets.
Global News reporter Angie Seth confronted a driver in downtown Toronto Monday after noticing seven dogs left unattended in a car for approximately 40 minutes.
“You want to sit in here? It’s warm,” the woman says, before slamming the door and driving off.
There are well-documented dangers to leaving your pets in a hot car, but extremely cold weather can be just as dangerous according to Ontario’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
“You don’t ever want to put [pets] in an extreme weather situation,” said OSPCA spokesperson Alison Cross. “Dogs in particular don’t always showcase when they’re in distress in a way that the average person can visually see. “
The OSPCA says a car can act like a fridge in the winter, retaining cold and potentially freezing a dog to death.
“We don’t recommend leaving a dog in a car for any period of time,” Cross said.
“We encourage you that if you can’t take the dog with you, or if you can’t leave somebody with the dog, then don’t bring the dog with you.”
Ontario’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act forbids causing distress to any animal, but Toronto police spokesman Victor Kwong says “distress” can be tough to quantify in wintertime.
“In the winter, it is not as black and white as the summer,” he said. “Different breeds deal with cold differently.”
A woman claiming to be the driver called in to Toronto’s AM640 on Tuesday morning, denying that she left the dogs unattended and saying she’s never put a dog in harm’s way.
“I’ve been (a dog walker) for almost 20 years,” she argued. “I’ve never put a dog in harm’s way whether it’s cool or heat, so the fact that I have to defend myself is sort of a little interesting.”
She says the dogs were only left for approximately 20 minutes, and were not in any distress. The lapse between the purchase time on the car’s parking permit and when she returned indicated the dogs had been there for 40 minutes.
Toronto bylaws dictate that commercial dog walkers can control a maximum of six animals at a time.
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