AN ANIMAL charity is warning about the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars as temperatures continue to soar across Hampshire this bank holiday. 

It comes after a woman shared a photograph to social media showing a small dog locked inside a car outside a supermarket in Kempshott yesterday.

The RSPCA is reminding people that if they see a pet in distress in a hot vehicle then they should call 999.

A spokesman for the charity said: "Many people still believe that it's ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they're parked in the shade, but the truth is, it's still a very dangerous situation for the dog.

"A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn't feel that warm. When it's 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour."

In 2018, the RSPCA was called out to 379 reports of dogs left in hot cars in Hampshire. This figure was significantly higher than neighbouring counties Berkshire (111) and Surrey (264). 

The charity is warning that in a worst case scenario, leaving an animal in a hot car can cause serious illness or even death. 

Basingstoke will reach highs of 29C today as the heatwave continues. 

Yesterday, a concerned passersby noticed a dog was locked in a car outside Tesco in Kempshott. 

Posting to Facebook, she wrote: "The dog owner had a Dogs Trust signs on the back window saying “hot cars kill dogs” and they leave their poor little dog in the car.

"My car was registering 31 degrees. I waited for the owners to return to be told they had only left the dog for tw0 minutes, mind your own business and sort your life out." 

The thread sparked debate about whether the right cause of action was to telephone police, the RSPCA or smash the window to free the animal. 

The official advice from the RSPCA is to call the police as they have powers of entry. 

Chorley Citizen:

What do I do if I see a dog in a car on a hot day?

In an emergency, it is best to dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police. The RSPCA may not be able to attend quickly enough and, with no powers of entry, they would need police assistance at such an incident.

If the animal is displaying any sign of heatstroke - such as panting heavily, drooling excessively, is lethargic or uncoordinated, or collapsed and vomiting - call 999 immediately.

If the situation becomes critical and police cannot attend, many people's instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. But please be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage.

Make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses.

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.

Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded/cool area and pour small amounts of cool water over their body. Do not use cold water as this could put the dog into shock. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water. Once the dog is cool take him to the nearest vet as a matter of urgency.

If the dog is not displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long they have been in the car and make a note of the registration.

If they are parked outside a business, ask a member of staff to make an announcement of the situation over the tannoy, if possible, and get someone to stay with the dog to monitor its condition.

You can call the RSPCA's 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.