Police smash window to rescue dog left in car during heatwave

20 July 2022, 08:30 | Updated: 20 July 2022, 09:20

Police said that the incident had upset a lot of officers [STOCK IMAGE]
Police said that the incident had upset a lot of officers [STOCK IMAGE]. Picture: Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

The dog owner has since been reported for animal cruelty after leaving the canine in the car in 31°C heat.

Police in Barnet were forced to smash the window of a car after they discovered a dog had been left in the vehicle during the heatwave.

The poor dog, who was left in a car parked at the RAF Museum in Hendon, was rescued by officers who have urged other pet owners not to make the same mistake.

The incident occurred on Monday, when the heatwave saw parts of the country reach highs of 38°C.

Police responding to the incident said that the temperature at the time of rescuing the dog was 31°C.

The dog was rescued from the car after police smashed the window [STOCK IMAGE]
The dog was rescued from the car after police smashed the window [STOCK IMAGE]. Picture: Getty

Taking to Twitter to update people in the local area, Barnet MPS wrote: "Unbelievably, our officers have just had to smash the window of a vehicle to get a dog out at the RAF museum Hendon. 31.5 degrees! JUST DON'T TAKE DOGS OUT IN THIS HEAT."

Yesterday, when temperatures reached a record high of 40°C, the police revealed that the owner of the dog has been reported for animal cruelty.

They also added that the dog was fine after it was removed from the car and given some water before being taken to the station to keep cool.

According to the messages on social media shared by Barnet Police's official page, the incident "really upset" a lot of the staff.

Replying to one message from a shocked member of the public, the Police department commented: "I wouldn’t leave my handbag in a car let alone a precious pet."

This was not a one-off event and multiple dogs have had to be saved from hot cars over the past two days.

"Sadly, not the only dog Met police officers had to get out of cars yesterday across London", they said: "Many officers are huge animal lovers and find it very upsetting."

While temperatures have dropped, the heatwave is still ongoing and continues to pose a risk to our furry friends.

Dogs should never be left in cars alone, but if you see one suffering, what can you do?

Here's everything you need to know:

1) Assess the dog’s condition

According to the experts at the RSPCA, you must first establish the animal's health and condition.If they are displaying any signs of heatstroke, you should call 999 immediately.

You can find the symptoms of heatstroke further down on this page.

2) Taking action

In many cases if the dog’s situation becomes critical and help is too far away, people break into cars to help the pet.

However, the RSCPA explain: “If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.”

They explain: “Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident.

“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 (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).”

Once the dog is removed from the car, you can assess more clearly if the dog does have heatstroke.For information on performing first aid to a dog with heatstroke, please see further down on this page.

3) Does the dog have heatstroke?

If the dog is not displaying symptoms of heatstroke, you should firstly find out how long the dog has been in the car for before making a note of the car’s registration plate.

If you are still concerned for the dog’s wellbeing, you can report this to the police.

Other options include attempting to find the owner – if you are outside a supermarket, you can have an announcement put out in the shop by staff.

Keep track of the dog’s condition, if it changes, call the police.

What are the symptoms of heatstroke in dogs?

Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Red eyes
  • Red gums
  • Hot skin
  • Reduced activity
  • Vomiting
  • Collapsing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessively drooling
  • The dog appears lethargic, drowsy or uncoordinated
  • Difficulty breathing

What do I do if the dog has heatstroke?

According to information from the RSPCA, dogs suffering from heatstroke urgently need to have their body temperature lowered gradually for the best chance of survival.This is what they say you should do:

  • Move the dog to a shaded and cool area
  • Immediately pour cool (not cold to avoid shock) water over the dog. Tap water (15-16°C) has been found to be the most effective at cooling dogs with heat-related illnesses. In a true emergency, any water is better than nothing.
  • Wet towels placed over the dog can worsen the condition, trapping heat.  In mild cases towels can be placed under the dog, but never over, and in a true emergency water immersion or pouring water with air movement is ideal
  • Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water
  • Continue to pour cool water over the dog until their breathing starts to settle, but not too much that they start shivering
  • Dogs that have lost consciousness will stop panting, despite still having a very high temperature, these dogs require urgent aggressive cooling as a priority
  • Throughout the treatment of heatstroke try to avoid pouring water on or near your dog's head, as there is a risk of them inhaling water which could lead to drowning, especially for flat-faced and unconscious dogs.
  • Once the dog is cool, take them to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency
  • Some types of dogs are more prone to heatstroke, like very old or young dogs, dogs with thick, heavy coats or dogs with very short flat faces like pugs and bulldog types. Dogs with certain diseases or on some types of medication are also more at risk.

For more information on what to do and tips for keeping dogs safe this summer, visit the RSCPA website here or call them on 0300 1234 999.