As temperatures soared, a Chocolate Labrador mix died in the backseat of a parked car Sunday afternoon at Vaughan Mills shopping centre.
Two Sudbury residents in their early 20’s face animal cruelty charges after a passerby spotted the dog in distress around 2:15 p.m. and notified mall security.
A security guard said his colleagues were called to the south end of the parking lot near Bass Pro Mills Dr. and notified emergency services. He said he’s never heard of a similar occurrence in his three years on the job.
York police say security personnel tried to splash water through a small opening in the window of the silver four-door Dodge Avenger. Fire crews later broke open the back-left window after the dog had fallen unconscious.
The mercury soared to 32C in Vaughan on Sunday, but the temperature inside the vehicle would have been much higher.
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says a dog’s normal body temperature is about 39C and that dogs can only stand being 41C for a short time before irreparable brain damage or death occur.
Officials tried in vain to resuscitate the dog and impounded the car. A 21-year-old man and 20-year-old woman were both charged with causing unnecessary suffering to animals under the Criminal Code and will appear in court July 10, 2012.
“It’s such a tragedy. We hear about it every year,” said Barbara Steinhoff of the Toronto Humane Society. “They probably thought they were just gonna run in and run out, and in the end it’s a preventable tragedy.”
Dogs release heat slowly through panting, as they have no pores. While open windows and a bowl of water can help, Steinhoff said it’s safest to leave dogs at home. She said most cases happen when people are delayed after planning to only be gone a few minutes.
Breeds tolerate heat differently, Steinhoff said, noting that a husky might have had issues just being outside Sunday. She said even five minutes in a vehicle in the day’s blazing heat would be too much for most pets.
Here’s the language of the Criminal Code regarding “Cruelty to Animals”:
Cruelty to Animals
Marginal note:Causing unnecessary suffering
- 445.1 (1) Every one commits an offence who
- (a) wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird;
- (b) in any manner encourages, aids or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds;
- (c) wilfully, without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal or bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is kept in captivity or, being the owner of such an animal or a bird, wilfully permits a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to be administered to it;
- (d) promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display or event at or in the course of which captive birds are liberated by hand, trap, contrivance or any other means for the purpose of being shot when they are liberated; or
- (e) being the owner, occupier or person in charge of any premises, permits the premises or any part thereof to be used for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (d).
(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of
- (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or
- (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term of not more than eighteen months or to both.
Marginal note:Failure to exercise reasonable care as evidence
(3) For the purposes of proceedings under paragraph (1)(a), evidence that a person failed to exercise reasonable care or supervision of an animal or a bird thereby causing it pain, suffering or injury is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that the pain, suffering or injury was caused or was permitted to be caused wilfully, as the case may be.
Marginal note:Presence at baiting as evidence
(4) For the purpose of proceedings under paragraph (1)(b), evidence that an accused was present at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that he or she encouraged, aided or assisted at the fighting or baiting.
- 2008, c. 12, s. 1.
Update: June 11, 2012 Owner of dog that died in hot car loves animals, family says