A 55-year-old man from Manitouwadge has been found guilty of animal cruelty after leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle during hot weather.
On August 11, 2017, an Ontario SPCA agent with the Thunder Bay & District Humane Society responded to a call about a dog found inside a vehicle in the west end of the city. A Shepherd-type dog was observed panting heavily on the floor of the vehicle, attempting to avoid the sun. The temperature inside the vehicle was measured at 39°C.
After the owner couldn't be found, the officer removed the dog from the vehicle. A veterinary examination revealed the dog’s internal body temperature was elevated. If left in the vehicle any longer, the veterinarian says the dog may have suffered brain damage or death.
Daniel Stuart of Manitouwadge pled guilty on May 25, in a Thunder Bay Provincial Offences Court of causing an animal to be in distress. The Justice of the Peace fined Stuart $200.
“There is no excuse to leave an animal in a hot vehicle for any amount of time,” says Lynn Michaud, Senior Inspector, Ontario SPCA. “Fortunately, in this case, the dog was removed from the car before it suffered serious health effects, thanks to the fast-acting public that reported the incident. There can be legal consequences if you leave an animal in an unattended vehicle, which can quickly reach deadly temperatures, even on relatively mild days with the vehicle parked in the shade and the windows slightly open.”
If you see an animal left in a vehicle, do not attempt to take the law into your own hands. Report it to the Ontario SPCA’s province-wide animal cruelty hotline at 310-SPCA (7722) or your local police, and ask surrounding businesses to make an announcement requesting the owner return to their vehicle immediately.