Skip to content

Dog owners: Don't be cruel to pets

I don't know of many who weren't enjoying the spate of nice weather we just had - appeased that the sun stayed for a few days, at least.

I don't know of many who weren't enjoying the spate of nice weather we just had - appeased that the sun stayed for a few days, at least.

Attendance at last weekend's fair in Aldergrove - and at community events around the region, such as FraserFest in New Westminster - is a strong indicator of just how anxious people are to get outdoors and have some fun in something other than liquid sunshine.

Thousands swarmed to the weekend festivties, taking in the midway rides, ames, activities, and live enterainment.

While I'm thrilled to see the community rejoicing at this family-oriented party, I want to send out a little reminder to leave your four-legged family members at home on such occasions.

Admittedly, it gets my dander up to see some folks attend these kinds of events, and they're walking among the big crowds of people with a dog that is obviously scared, overwhelmed, distressed, hot - or all of the above. I don't care how well-trained the animal is or how much you love it. I don't even want to hear the excuses of separation anxiety or depression that apparently plague pets.

If someone really loves his or her dog, leave it at home when the mercury begins to rise.

Now that leads me to a topic that makes my blood boil.

Wandering through parking lots, how often have you spotted an animal left inside a vehicle while their human is inside a store shopping or off revelling in some form of summer fun?

Each year, animal welfare organizations respond to hundreds of complaints about dogs left in hot cars. On a warm day, temperatures inside a parked car can quickly climb to well above 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).

Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

Take an incident in Burnaby earlier this month, where a Good Samaritan noticed a puppy locked in a kennel in a car left sitting in direct sunlight at BCIT.

The distressed dog was barking, and it did not appear to have any water. With the exception of the vehicle's sunroof, which was slightly ajar, the car was sealed for some two hours. The five-month-old puppy was unresponsive and not breathing by the time authorities arrived and broke her free of the sweltering hot prison.

Despite efforts to resuscitate her, that dog could not be saved.

Or what about the more recent incident near Victoria, in which an off-duty police officer left a 10-month-old German shepherd, which was being trained as a police dog, in a hot SUV for about three hours while he was out fishing.

Fortunately, in this case, some other Good Samaritans stepped in when they heard the dog barking and yelping in distress, and put a tent over the SUV and began spraying it with cold water while waiting for help.

I don't care what the reasoning. There's no excuse for such blatant stupidity, cruelty and downright animal abuse.

Dogs are typically among the most loyal friends a human can have. Given a smattering of affection, they'll pretty much follow their owners to the end of the earth, and do anything to protect their human from harm.

Too bad humans don't reciprocate.

Convicting the owner of animal cruelty seems too little, way too late. It's not going to bring the dog back, and no punishment handed out in a Canadian court would ever be severe enough to be a deterrent to others.

So all I can do is plead with our readers: Next time you think about bringing your pooch along to a festival or other summer outing .

Don't. Leave your animal at home, where it can stay cool, well hydrated and comfortable.

Roxanne Hooper is the assistant editor of the Langley Advance and Maple Ridge Times, sister papers of The Record.