Although some people may consider their dog to be their best friend, some Yellowknife residents are insisting that it’s best to leave them at home on summer days.
Sarah Baron has lived in Yellowknife for almost four years. She said she sees more dogs left in hot cars here than she ever did in her home province of Ontario.
Last week Baron called the Municipal Enforcement Division (MED) to rescue an overheating dog in the parking lot outside the Monkey Tree Pub on Range Lake Road. From the time she first noticed the dog to the time the bylaw officer retrieved its owner, 45 minutes had passed. And who knows, she said, how long it was in there before she saw it.
“We were getting hot (standing outside), so I can’t even imagine what it was like for the dog,” she said. “It’s crazy that people think it’s OK.”
Nicole Spencer, NWT SPCA president, says that even with windows cracked, the temperature inside a vehicle can increase within minutes. When left in parked cars, dogs can get heatstroke and risk going into organ failure.
In 21 C weather, the inside of a car can heat up to 32 C after only 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, it’s closer to 40 C.
With NWT temperatures rising up to 29 C in recent days, parked cars are heating up to almost 50 C – enough to make anyone sweat.
Dogs, however, have limited ability to sweat, which means they overheat quickly.
With so many establishments allowing shoppers to bring in leashed dogs, Baron says there’s no reason for people to leave their dogs in parked vehicles.
“Leave your dogs at home if you’re going to go have dinner,” she said.
After sharing her concern in a post on Yellowknife’s Rant N Rave Facebook group, it’s clear that Baron isn’t the only one with these concerns. Several comments express similar concern and experiences, with one person posting she had seen a dog crying in a car at Walmart that day.
Anyone who sees a dog sitting in a parked car around town should call MED at immediately, Spencer advised.