14 May 2016

LEGISLATION - Bill Proposed to Help Dogs in Hot Cars

The B.C. NDP are hopeful that the Christy Clark government will take a bill proposed to assist animals in distress seriously.

The Distressed Animal Act 2016 was proposed by New Democrat MLA Selena Robinson in last week’s legislature ‑ with the objective to be passed before summer – and would grant bylaw enforcement the authority to seize distressed animals from hot vehicles with improper ventilation, even breaking vehicles windows when necessary to do so.

“We cannot have another summer with animals dying while left alone in hot vehicles, it is time to act,” Robinson said last week, adding that the bill has widespread municipal support.

According to Robinson, the BC SPCA received 850 reports of animals left unattended in hot vehicles in 2013 and 1,000 reports in 2014.

While police officers have the authority to assist animals in distress, Robinson said these resources may be better spent elsewhere; presently, the 26 BC SPCA animal protection officers often have to call on the police to assist with animals in hot cars.

The legislation would amend the Motor Vehicle Act, the Community Charter and Vancouver Charter to ensure safer transportation of animals in vehicles and would require that animals are provided with proper ventilation and protection from extreme weather when being transported or are left unattended in vehicles.

According to the bill, adequate ventilation means access to airflow through a space of at least 500 cm squared; and extreme temperature is defined as 27 degrees Celsius or higher in an enclosed space; temperatures above that can feel like more than twice that hot to a dog in a confined space with no airflow.

The B.C. SPCA has a section devoted to pets in hot cars on their website, outlining the dos and don’ts over leaving pets unattended in (hot) vehicles, including emergency veterinary care resources and symptoms that pets are experiencing heat stroke.

They caution pet owners to not rely on air conditioning systems in vehicles, which can malfunction when left unattended.

By Lindsay Seewalt
Lindsay is an experienced journalist and mother of three whose heart and home is always open to a four-legged friend. With her Corgi, Angie, as household editor-in-chief, Lindsay gives back to the animal planet through the written word on anything and all ado about pets. She is passionate about topics regarding animal welfare and responsible pet ownership, which she aims to instill in both her readers and children to be compassionate animal lovers who are conscious and considerate that furry friends around the globe deserve a voice.

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