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PETA Urges Island District RCMP to Invest in Alarm Systems for K-9s Left in Hot Cars


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Dog Left in Cruiser Parked in the Sun Prompts Urgent Request

Victoria, B.C. -- In the wake of reports that a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) dog was left in a cruiser parked in a sunny marina parking lot for several hours, PETA has sent an urgent letter to Island District RCMP Senior Media Relations Officer Cpl. Darren A. Lagan calling on him to install heat-monitoring and -warning systems in all department vehicles used to transport police dogs. The Victoria and Saanich police departments, among others, have already installed these systems, which are available from a variety of manufacturers.

“Like human officers, these dogs risk their lives for the sake of community safety,” says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “These affordable systems can make the difference between life and an agonizing death—a small price to pay in return for all that working dogs do.”

In the letter, PETA points out that on a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a shaded car is approximately 90 degrees and that a car parked in the sun can reach 160 degrees in minutes; for dogs, death from heatstroke can occur in just 15 minutes. The police dog left in the sun on Wednesday was fortunately spared this gruesome and terrifying death, thanks to the quick and compassionate actions of marina staff, who erected a canopy over the cruiser and sprayed the vehicle with water to cool it down.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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PETA’s letter to Cpl. Darren A. Lagan follows:

July 8, 2011

Cpl. Darren A. Lagan
Senior Media Relations Officer

Dear Cpl. Lagan:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide. Our office has received calls regarding a recent incident during which a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) dog was left in a cruiser parked in the sun for an extended period of time. PETA receives an alarming number of reports of working dogs who have suffered heatstroke and died after being left unattended in vehicles for only a very brief period. Each year, police dogs across North American suffered prolonged, agonizing deaths in patrol cars while their human partners tended to other duties. Respectfully, downplaying such a situation will only invite tragedy.

On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a car parked in the shade is approximately 90 degrees; a car parked in the sun can reach 160 degrees in minutes. For a dog, death from heatstroke can occur in just 15 minutes. It is a gruesome, terrifying way to die—dogs struggle to escape the vehicle, salivate heavily, lose control of their bladder and bowels, and bloody their paws by clawing at the car windows.

Please establish a policy requiring that officers only leave police dogs unattended in vehicles when there is truly no other choice. For those times when officers must step away, please make the modest investment of purchasing and installing an independently powered temperature-monitoring and heat-alert system, such as those manufactured by AceK9 and Ray Allen. Depending on the model, these systems sound an alarm, page the officer, attempt to start the engine, roll down a window, and pop the door open if the temperature begins to reach a dangerous level. Some police dog units have received supplemental funding for these lifesaving devices through their local Fraternal Order of Police chapter or equivalent. The Victoria and Saanich police departments, among others, use these systems. You can find out more about them at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XecE5YEvV4.

We hope that you will join us in considering this a matter of urgency. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kristin Simon
Senior Cruelty Caseworker
Cruelty Investigations Department



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