Every summer, thousands of dogs perish after being left unattended in cars while their well-meaning owners shop or run errands, perhaps thinking they'll be gone only briefly. Such deaths can occur even when outside temperatures are not extreme, and faster than most people think.
In an effort to curb these needless tragedies, a mall in Canada has come up with a simple solution: enlisting staff to scour the parking lot for pets trapped in vehicles, making sure they get the help they need before it's too late.
Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia launched the special pet patrol after police were forced to break into a car to rescue a dog left in the parking lot last month. According to CBC News, mall employees will now be on the lookout for this problem and try to quickly track down pet owners. If that fails, their duty is to alert local law enforcement.
While it's ultimately the responsibility of pet owners to keep their animals safe, malls and shopping centers elsewhere would be wise to enact similar patrols, particularly on days that don't seem particularly hot. On a 78-degree day, temperatures inside a car can reach 120 degrees within minutes; when it's 90 degrees out, that can goes as high as 160 degrees.
Authorities recommend people encountering pets panting in hot cars to first attempt to track down the animals owners before calling police to intervene.