Number of dogs left in hot cars in Shropshire rises by 20 per cent
The number of dogs being left in hot cars in Shropshire has risen by 20 per cent, according to figures from the RSPCA.
In 2018, 70 calls were made to the RSPCA about animals and heat exhaustion, compared to 60 in 2017.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to leave a dog in a hot car. If it resulted in the dog falling ill or it dying the owner could be prosecuted for neglect or cruelty and if the case goes to court and the owner is found guilty they face six months in custody or a fine up to £20,000.
Passersby may be tempted to break a window if they spot a dog in distress but the RSPCA says a report should be made to police first.
A spokesperson for RSPCA said: “Make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses.
“The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances.
"You can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step."
The warning from RSPCA comes after police officers nearly smashed a car window in Telford to free the dogs just as the owners returned.
Officers were on patrol in Dawley when they saw the trapped animals which they said were locked up for nearly 35 minutes.
However, as they were about to break the windows to free the dogs, the owners returned.
They later said that that they had spoken to the owners, who seemed more concerned they were about to smash the window than that they were making a referral to the RSPCA.
At Ludlow Spring Festival, two dogs were left in a car while their owners enjoyed a day out.
A police officer had to force the windows to free the distressed animals and called the RSPCA.
Organisers of the Spring Festival put out a message out over the public address system to contact owners but when they failed to return the officer decided it was in the interests of the animals to force the windows of the car.
When the car owner returned to their vehicle, the officer told them of their responsibilities to their pets.