Dog lovers and pet parents alike understand the pure frustration felt after reading yet another article about a dog left in a hot car. For some reason, despite all the media attention and historical evidence, some owners refuse to accept the fact that leaving a dog in a hot car is cruel, unusual, and often fatal.
Luckily, the dogs of Toronto feel a little more safe, thanks to Namir Abdul and his Pet Patrol!
The Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre in Toronto, ON, is one of the first to implement a special task force dedicated to protecting pets from being left in hot cars. Namir and his team of ten security guards are stationed at each of the five entrances surrounding Vaughan Mills, patrolling the parking lot for pets in need.
Way to go man! You keep those pets safe.
The Pet Patrol is most active once outside temperatures reach 30*C. The inside of a car can heat very quickly, rising to life threatening temperatures.
“According to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a dog’s normal body temperature is about 39C and dogs can only stand being at 41C for a short time before irreparable brain damage or death occur.” – The Star
As each breed tolerates heat differently, five minutes alone in a hot vehicle could be fatal to some pets.
The Pet Patrol was created after a couple from Sudbury, ON left their dog in the car while they went shopping at Vaughan Mills in 2012. The dog began to overheat, as mall security were notified of a dog locked in a vehicle. Security attempted to splash water on the dog through a small opening in the window, but the dog soon fell unconscious. When fire crews arrived to break the dog free, he had already succumbed to the heat. He could not be resuscitated.
“When that incident occurred … it pushed us to be more proactive to address this issue, to have more additional eyes on the lots for these potential situations,” said Stephen Gascoine, the general manager of Vaughan Mills. “It’s a gentle reminder to pet owners.”
Gascoine believes that many people are unaware of the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars. The Pet Patrol was created as an educational awareness program, to remind dog owners of this issue.
The Pet Patrol is responsible for not only patrolling the parking lots, but also checking cars as they enter the shopping centre. This ensures that no animals are overlooked. If a Pet Patrol officer is concerned about an animal, they are directed to contact animal services or police immediately.
Gascoine and the Pet Patrol are hoping the presence of the officers will cause people to think twice about bringing their pets shopping.
“Overall, it’s being well-received,” says Gascoine. “There are a significant number of pet owners who appreciate these kinds of measures.”
Hopefully, the Vaughan Mills Pet Patrol is the first of many security units dedicated to protecting pets.
Please spread awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in hot cars, and stress the importance of keeping your pets safe at home!