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Group wants stiffer penalties to help protect pooches

Dogs left in hot cars is still a real problem in Kamloops.
August 18, 2014 - 4:38 PM

KAMLOOPS - A group of citizens, veterinarians and local business owners are asking the city to implement heavy fines for leaving a dog in a vehicle during hot or cold weather.

A bylaw in Calgary, which allows bylaw officers to check inside temperatures using an infrared thermometers, is pointed to as a good example of how to deal with dogs left in vehicles. One suggestion is a complete ban from April 1- Oct. 1 or also if temperatures exceed 15 Celsius or drop below freezing from Oct. 2 to March 31.

A ban on leaving vehicles in the back of pickup trucks is also being suggested for both hot and cold temperatures as well.

“Unfortunately, there is still a segment of the population who persist in leaving pets in their vehicles when the temperatures are too high,” animal health technologist Michelle Virdee says. “Both the B.C. SPCA and the RCMP spend many hours each summer responding to pets left in these unsafe conditions.”

Virdee believes a bylaw would help protect the animals and save substantial funding, suggesting fines would cover the costs to implement a new bylaw.

“It takes only minutes to severely injure or kill a pet, even when they are parked in the shade with windows down,” she points out.

About a dozen local pet oriented businesses and veterinarians signed a petition and another 20 letters of support for a bylaw were submitted.

At a July council meeting Coun. Tina Lange broached the subject of a bylaw to protect dogs left in hot vehicles but was told a bylaw would be for the protection of all animals, not just dogs. She was also told a bunch of bylaw adjustments were expected to be brought forward in the first quarter.

Community Safety Manager Jon Wilson notes while the bylaws department gets calls about dogs left in cars ‘fairly frequently’ the city is not the primary agency for calls - they usually go to the SPCA or RCMP.

Council members will be presented with the petition and letters Tuesday afternoon.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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