Dog locked in car upsets resident

This photo of a dog locked in a car was sent to Lowvelder.

MBOMBELA – A resident who attended Wednesday’s rugby match at Mbombela Stadium, was highly upset when she saw a small dog locked in a car. The owner was nowhere to be seen.

The woman took a photo of the dachshund looking out of the back window of the an Audi A4. “When will people learn that it is unacceptable to lock a dog up in a car?” she asked.

During previuos interviews with Lowvelder, local veterinarians, Dr Nicola Colborne and Dr Albertus Coetzee, explained why residents should not leave their pets alone in cars without adequate ventilation and drinking water.

According to Colborne, the inside of a car can easily reach 50 degrees Celsius within an hour. This can cause severe dehydration, swelling of the pet’s brain and death.

“Animals need shade and access to drinking water at all times,” she said.

She pointed out that dogs sweat only through their paws, and have to rely on panting to cool themselves down. “In a hot car, they simply can’t cope,” Colborne added.

Dogs are more prone to suffering from heatstroke during the summer.

Once a dog shows signs of heatstroke, they must receive veterinary attention. While you are phoning the vet you can spray your dog with cold water and keep it in a cool area with air conditioning or a fan.

“A dog suffering from heatstroke is an emergency,” Colborne said, and added that dog owners should treat it as such. Although this can happen to any animal, she said certain breeds are more predisposed. These are dogs with flatter noses, including bulldogs, boxers, Staffies, Pekineses, Boston terriers and pugs.

The Animal Protection Act explains how the law protects dogs.

In terms of this act, anyone who confines or conveys an animal in a way that causes the animal unnecessary suffering will be guilty of an offence.

The act prescribes that animals must at all times have enough ventilation, light and protection from the heat. People found guilty of committing such offences can, upon conviction, be liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to a year.

If a police officer sees anyone committing any of these offences, he or she may arrest the offender there and then. Community members should inform the police of any such incidents, rather than taking the matter to social media.

Signs that your dog is suffering from heatstroke, are:
• Heavy panting
• Excessive thirst
• Increased body temperature (more than 40 degrees)
• Weakness
• Collapse
• Vomiting
• Diarrhoea
• Bright or dark-red gums and tongue
• Excessive drooling
• Seizures or unconsciousness.

Helene Eloff
Court Reporter

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