RSPCA says: “Please don’t leave your dog in a hot car.”


A Staffordshire bull terrier had to be rescued from temperatures of almost 40c after being left in a van at Alton Towers

The RSPCA assisted police to rescue a Staffy from a transit van in the Alton Towers car park on Wednesday (August 12).

The dog was noticed by security staff at the theme park at around 11am. Police arrived on the scene first and were able to winch the windows down to get the dog out. The dog had been cowering in the footwell to try to get away from the blazing sun.

The van had been left with the windows open but was in the middle of the car park in no shade.

RSPCA Inspector Charlotte Melvin arrived at 12.45 and even after the windows had been left open, she measured the temperature inside as 39c.

The dog was taken to the vets by Inspector Melvin and fortunately was unharmed – but she warned that had he been left for even half an hour longer this outcome could have been different.

The owner eventually returned to the van and make contact with the RSPCA at around 6pm the same day.

Inspector Melvin said:

“Firstly I would like to say thank you to the security staff at Alton Towers for making us and the police aware of the dog.

“On this occasion the dog is fine but on so many others this isn’t the case.

“I do think sometimes people are unaware of how quickly temperatures within a car can rise. Even if it is just 22c outside it can get to 47c inside a car in 60 minutes.

“Heatstroke is fatal for dogs. This is why the RSPCA is backing a recent campaign to really drive the message home over the summer – don’t leave your dog in a hot car.”

The RSPCA joined forces with The British Veterinary Association (BVA), National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Blue Cross, The Mayhew Animal Home, PDSA, Wood Green The Animals Charity and the National Animal Welfare Trust to launch a hard hitting national campaign in June this year.

This campaign warned people of the devastating consequences of leaving dogs in hot cars and urging people to dial 999 if they see an animal in distress, as police have the power to break into vehicles.

Each year the RSPCA and the police receive thousands of calls concerning dogs trapped inside cars on a warm day. This poses a serious risk to dog welfare and many dogs still die each year.

Dogs can’t cool down in the same way humans can so leaving a window open or parking in the shade will not keep the car cool enough and dogs may still suffer.

Under the Animal Welfare Act owners have a duty of care towards their animals to protect their welfare needs and prevent suffering which includes not exposing them to extremes of temperature. If a dog is left in a car on a warm day and suffers the owners could be at risk of prosecution.

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to carry out our work. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).