What you should do if you see a dog left in a hot car

File photo.
File photo. Carla Bosacki

VANCOUVER – Nanaimo RCMP have issued a number of tips for people to follow if they see a dog left unattended in a hot car.

Mounties say the recent heat wave has led to an increase in calls from the public.

READ MORE: Despite repeated warnings, more than 220 dogs left in hot cars in past month

“We understand the urgency of these situations and appreciate how the public must feel when they see an animal in a parked vehicle,” says Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. “We also recognize the overwhelming majority of these calls are resolved successfully without any injury to the animal.”

READ MORE: 5 summer safety tips for pet owners

Police say the following checklist should be followed before calling the police or animal control:

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  • Is the car parked in the sun or shade?
  • Are the windows down and does the animal have air flow?
  • How long have you observed the animal?
  • Does it have any water?
  • Have  you gone into nearby stores and tried to locate the owner/driver?
  • What is the dog doing- panting, laying down, barking?

If you observe an animal panting, shaking uncontrollably, acting lethargic and appearing to be uncoordinated, then this may be a critical situation requiring police or animal control. Police say if a vehicle needs to be broken into and animal control has been called, they will contact a local tow company to open a locked door. Police officers if warranted, can break a window and remove the animal, but this will always be a last resort and only done to save the life of the animal.

On Monday Victoria Police had to break the window of a car when two dogs in distress were spotted inside.

The number for animal control is 250-754-1397.

Police also say that in this weather it is always best to leave your dog at home where they will be more comfortable.

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