RACV is urging pet owners to exercise caution when it comes to leaving their furry friends unattended in cars this summer.
The warning comes as new figures show RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance (ERA) patrols rescued more than 500 pets from cars across Victoria in the 2018-2019 Financial Year.
RACV spokesperson Brodie Bott said most of the 526 animals rescued from vehicles by ERA crews were dogs and puppies.
“On many occasions, RACV ERA crews were called to rescue family pets that had limited access to fresh air or a cooling breeze, and in some cases neither. That’s quite concerning considering temperatures inside a car’s cabin can reach more than 60 degrees Celsius in the warmer months,” Mr Bott said.
“No living creature, whether human or an animal, can survive in those kinds of temperatures, even if for a short time. It’s like being in an oven.”
The RACV pet rescue hot spots over the 12-month period included:
- Bayside and south-eastern suburbs with 171 rescues
- Knox and eastern suburbs with 111 rescues
- Calder and north-west and south-west suburbs with 105 rescues
- Melbourne CBD and surrounds with 55 rescues
- La Trobe and northeastern suburbs with 45 rescues
- Geelong region with 39 rescues.
While the cause of most ERA callouts was accidental, Mr Bott said there were a few things pet owners could do to avoid locking their furry friends in the car.
“Next time you’re jumping in the car, ask yourself if it’s absolutely necessary to bring the family pet with you. It may be safer to leave them at home where they have more room, fresh air and water,” he said.
“If you have no other option, make sure the windows are down, the animal has access to cold water, and they aren’t left for longer than a few minutes.
“You wouldn’t leave a child in a hot car without access to fresh air and water, and you shouldn’t do the same with the family pet. It’s just common sense.”
RACV urged bystanders who noticed distressed dogs in cars to call Triple Zero (000) and RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance on 13 11 11. RACV rescues children and animals from vehicles free of charge.
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