Would You Park Your Dog in Here?

Thursday, 17 July 2014 | Tags: , , , ,

Every year or so it seems there is something new on the Socially Unacceptable List. Soon after that it might become law. Take drinking and driving. I don’t remember getting to and from a dinner party being an issue in my parents’ era. Now, not only is having a few drinks then driving criminal behavior, it won’t win you any friends.

Then bike helmets came along. The other day I was riding my bike 3 blocks along side streets to the grocery store when another cyclist whizzed by and yelled at me to wear a helmet. Seriously buddy? It’s my own head. I’m not putting anyone else at risk so I think I should be allowed to assess the danger for myself. If I don’t have to wear a helmet skiing (which I do anyway) why can’t I make my own choice when riding my bike on a quiet street? The biggest risk is probably that I’ll get a ticket. That, and I’m pretty sure that cyclist won’t be inviting me over for dinner.

Eat a sandwich while driving a car in Vancouver and no one bats an eye. Lay a hand on your smart phone though and you’ll feel the wrath of other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Not to mention be risking a hefty ticket. And surely some traffic vigilante will take your picture and you’ll see yourself on Youtube. Shame on you! 

And now the campaign to educate us all about the dangers of leaving pets in cars is what’s hot. The very warm weather in some parts of the country along with the high profile case of six dogs who needlessly died in a car while in the care of their dog walker, of all people, is probably what makes this one the cause of 2014.

As a dog owner, this is one I can get behind. The temperature in your car can rise 15 or 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. Lola loves to ride with me, but these days I’m traveling with extra supplies for her and paying closer attention to her comfort and the temperatures outside in the event I need to park for a few minutes.

To be clear, leaving a dog in a parked car is not a crime in Canada. But cruelty to animals is. The RCMP say the majority of calls they receive for dogs in parked cars during the summer result in a happy ending. So just because you see a dog in a parked car is not reason alone to call police or the SPCA. If you’re concerned, ask yourself the following questions:

  • – Is the car parked in the shade?
  • – Are the car windows open, allowing for ventilation?
  • – Does the dog have water?
  • – Is the dog showing signs of distress, like excessive panting, sudden stop in panting, excessive drooling or barking?

Of course, the safest option is to just leave your pet at home. But if you can’t, please use common sense when parking your car. Otherwise a few stupid people will make it against the law to leave Fido in the back seat while you run into the store for a litre of milk in July. Such laws are created to address the lowest common denominator.

Maybe we should all just don a helmet when we leave the house in the morning. Our pets could have helmets too. Then we’d all be safe.


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