Police redefine dog days of summer by asking for public help
It’s an odd dillema. Police want very badly to get your calls, if an animal is in distress.
They care, and they want to help where they can.
But there is a common sense denominator that doesn’t seem to apply.
If the air conditioning is on, the dog is more comfortable than you, as you stand outside looking at him. Not all dogs in cars are struggling.
This is a time where common sense is the end game.
“No one has to break windows if the animals are okay,” says RCMP Sgt. (and Kootenay Animal Assistance president) Laurel Mathew. “It’s better to call and be wrong, than to not call at all .We’d rather protect those with fewer options, than to not know something bad is happening.
“But some discernment would be nice. A dog in distress will exhibit blank stares, lack of engaging, lack of panting or excessive panting, and even loss of conciousness. We don’t want to wait until a dog is in this state before getting the call, but a dog that is fine will be barking and alert.”
She said sometimes people are just running into the gas station for two minutes, from an air conditioned car, as opposed to going grocery shopping or out for a meal.
“Not all dogs in cars are in distress.”
Another major, and equally dangerous issue is untethered dogs in pick-up trucks.
“That’s a fineable offence – the dog has to be tethered short enough so it can’t jump or fall out of the truck, but long enough so it doesn’t choke,” She said. ” We’re seeing this and enforcing it after one dog fell out of a pick up truck recently at a main intersection.”
She says police will respond to every single call, and she hopes residents will protect their canine neighbours by providing information when one is in trouble – please try to provide the location, licence plate of the vehicle, colour and mak/model, if possible.
Also worth noting is the prodigious number of lost/missing cats this season – coyotes are out in abundance, and letting your cat roam may mean condemning them to becoming a snack.
There IS some good news in all this, though, according to Mathew.
“So far we haven’t had to break any windows to rescue dogs, probably in part, thanks to observant people who either found the owner, or called (police) and we did.”