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How to Protect Dogs Left in Hot Cars This Summer

Animal Justice, Dogs May 29, 2017

After a long winter and rainy spring, the weather is finally heating up in Canada. But when the temperature rises, so too can the risk to animal safety. Animals can suffer in hot weather just like we do. Although it is becoming socially unacceptable to leave animals alone in cars, far too many animals—especially dogs—still die from overheating every year after being left unattended, locked in vehicles.

It’s illegal to cause suffering / distress to animals under federal criminal laws as well as provincial statutes, and some cities have their own bylaws protecting animals from abuse. Cars can heat up incredibly quickly even on mild days, and while some might think that rolling down the window a crack is fine, it does little to pets protects from suffering and dying in the heat.

Why are pets so vulnerable to hot weather? When people get too hot, we have the luxury of being able to sweat to cool our bodies down. But for dogs, panting is their only effective way to cool off. A dog’s body temperature rises quickly, but in a hot car panting does nothing to alleviate the heat. Consider this: A dog’s resting body temperature is 39° C; when it hits 41° C, the dog can only withstand this heat for a few minutes before suffering from permanent brain damage and eventually death.

So, what can you do to help a dog trapped in a hot car?

First, know the signs of heat distress. Some panting is normal for dogs, but if a dog is unresponsive, has their lips pulled back, is panting heavily, has bright red or purple gums, or a swollen tongue, they are experiencing heat distress and need immediate attention.

Next, call the authorities—your municipal animal protection agency, the provincial SPCA or humane society, and the police.  You should also take notes of the time you saw the animal, the location, vehicle model, colour, and license plate. It’s also worth going into nearby shops to try to find the owner and get the car opened.

What if you decide to break the car window yourself? It’s illegal to damage another person’s property in Canada, so breaking a window could result in criminal charges. Some U.S. states have already passed laws that let a bystander break a window to rescue a pet in distress, but Canadian provinces have yet to follow suit. In the meantime, you can contact your provincial representatives and ask for better hot car laws in your province.

Leaving animals unattended in cars is never worth the risk, so please help get the word out! Let your friends and family know what to do if they spot a pet in this situation. Together, we can enjoy the warmer weather the right way, with our animal friends in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Justice

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Saving Dogfighting Victims From Execution

Animal Justice, Dogs September 21, 2016

Animal Justice is seeking leave to intervene in a court case in Chatham, Ontario to help save the lives of 21 dogs rescued from an alleged dogfighting ring in October, 2015.

Three individuals are facing hundreds of criminal animal cruelty and dogfighting charges in relation to the dogs. Meanwhile, the Ontario SPCA is asking a court to order the execution of the rescued dogs under provincial dog owner responsibility laws. It claims the dogs are pit bulls and the public will not be safe as long as the dogs are alive.

Dogfighting is a heinous crime and has no place in society. It is deeply distressing that the dogs — themselves allegedly victims of a brutal crime — could be made to pay the ultimate price for the immoral and illegal actions of humans. It is also troubling that as the agency with a mandate to protect animals, the Ontario SPCA is instead seeking their death.

At Animal Justice, we believe the victims of dogfighting deserve our help and compassion — not execution. We’re asking the court to let us participate as an intervener in this important case so we can speak on behalf of the dogs, who have no voices of their own.

Dogs rescued from fighting rings have been successfully rehabilitated, most notably the dogs seized from former NFL player Michael Vick’s vicious dogfighting operation in the United States. In the Chatham case, countless dog rescue organizations with expertise in helping former fighting dogs are standing by to assist. Our legal team is asking the court to hear evidence from one of Canada’s top dog behaviour experts to understand how dogs can be rehabilitated, and that execution is not the only option.

Court cases move slowly, and we are still in the early stages of this legal battle. The next court date in the case is November 3, 2016, when the court will hear our arguments as to why Animal Justice should be granted leave to intervene in the case.

We are pleased to be working closely on this case with Bullies In Need, an Ontario dog rescue organization with a wealth of experience in caring for, fostering, and rehoming pit bull-type dogs. We appreciate Bullies In Need’s support for our application to intervene, and we admire their tireless work to save dogs.

Animal Justice’s court fight has already earned celebrity support from hockey legend Don Cherry, a true hero for animals. If you want to join the fight to save these dogs from death, please consider answering Don Cherry’s call to support our court case.

 

Animal Justice

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P.E.I. Ignores Calls to Restrict Fur Trapping, Extends Season Instead

Animal Justice, Cats, Dogs September 13, 2016

Prince Edward Island just bowed to the fur industry by giving hunters and trappers permission to kill even more animals this upcoming season. The move comes instead of heeding Animal Justice’s call to restrict fur trapping or even end the cruel practice altogether in the province.

Environment Minister Robert Mitchell announced in a news release that hunters would have an extra six weeks in total to kill snowshoe hares, and an extra month in the spring to trap minks. The news release indicates that the changes were made at the request of hunters and trappers.

Fur trapping is an incredibly violent practice. Canadian provinces allow trappers to use leg-hold traps, snares, and crush traps — cruel devices that often cause animals to suffer excruciating pain before they die.

Animal Justice met with Minister Mitchell last February to request a province-wide ban on fur trapping.

P.E.I.’s fur trapping industry has been under fire in recent years due to a rash of household companion animals being killed or injured in traps and snares. Companion animals in P.E.I. are at constant risk of dying in traps in part because provincial regulations allow traps to be set as near to residential homes as trappers wish, while snares can be set a mere 200 metres away. P.E.I. is the smallest and most densely-populated province in the country, meaning that pets aren’t safe so long as trapping is allowed.

Traps can also be set on Crown land, even though the provincial government encourages the public to hike on public land and bring their dogs along. Tragically, this leads to dogs dying in traps and snares, such as a dog named Caper who was killed last year in a baited snare set near a provincial trail.

The fur trade is on its way out, with pelt prices dropping drastically as many people refuse to wear fur. It is disappointing that the government has chosen to give special treatment to a dying industry, yet ignores Animal Justice and the countless P.E.I. residents who are asking the government to ban or restrict trapping. Expanding the killing season will allow many more animals to be brutally killed, and will further increase the risk that pets will become victims of traps.

Learn more about the cruelty of fur trapping here.

Animal Justice

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