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What you can do to help a pet in distress in a hot vehicle

An animal can be overwhelmed by heat in as little as 10 minutes.

It is that time of year again when police see an increase in calls from concerned citizens about the well-being of animals left unattended in hot vehicles.

"We recommend leaving your pet at home where they have access to shade and a water source. It is never recommended to leave a pet in a vehicle regardless of how long you think you may be away from the vehicle. There are always unforeseen circumstances that may keep you away longer than planned. An animal can be overwhelmed by heat in as little as 10 minutes. The temperature in a parked car – even in the shade with partly open windows - can reach a level high enough to seriously harm or even kill a pet," says Const. Angela Rabut, Community Policing/Media Relations Terrace RCMP.

If you find an animal in a vehicle that appears to be in distress, follow these steps:

• Look for the owner of the car. Record the vehicle description and license plate number and go to nearby stores and have the owner paged through the PA system.

• Attempt to provide shade or water for the animal.

• Call Animal Control at 250-615-4031.

• If unable to connect with Animal Control, call the Terrace RCMP at 250-638-7400.

• Stay at the car until the police officer arrives.

• File a report with the BC SPCA online or by calling 1-800-665-1868.

Signs of distress in animals:

• exaggerated panting,

• rapid or erratic pulse,

• anxious or staring expression,

• weakness and muscle tremors,

• lack of coordination,

• red or blue tongue and lips,

• convulsions or vomiting,

• collapse or coma.

If an animal does not appear to be in distress, do not call police immediately.

If an animal is alert, standing upright and barking, they are likely not in distress. If you are concerned about the animal, try to find its owner.

ANIMAL CONTROL BYLAW NO. 1255-1991: 14.7 Animals Confined in Enclosed Spaces – No person shall keep an animal confined in an enclosed space, including a motor vehicle, without access to sufficient ventilation to prevent the animal from suffering discomfort or heat related injury. Fine $100.