Summer is officially here! Year after year, many dog owners and lovers including myself raise awareness of the dangers of leaving your dog in vehicles. Who could argue with this? You’d be surprised, this week I have been looking at this thorny issue.
To the majority (I hope) of dog owners this concept is relatively simple and clear. Horror stories are often circulated on social media and other outlets of the dangers of leaving animals in vehicles and in my opinion it’s one that needs to be continuously amplified across the world.
All of this can happen over in just over a few minutes and the worst of it is that it can be so easily prevented.
As you can imagine, The Kennel Club makes it’s stance very clear. In every Kennel Club licensed show there should be no dogs in hot vehicles. This is to be expected as well as campaigning and raising awareness like any dog organisation would.
But at the same time many dog exhibitors at shows ignore and argue with this concept. This left me very surprised and intrigued as to why?
Many exhibitors have customised vehicles for transporting dogs, many of which have the state-of-the-art air conditioning and climate control ensuring the dogs are always kept cool and secure inside. You can easily see that the welfare of their dogs are paramount to them. They also argue that the dogs are in a better condition inside the vehicle than under a tent in hot weather which is understandable. Why should they be penalised for the actions of the few irresponsible owners?
But this is where I differ; how can we uphold a very important rule if there are exceptions to certain individuals? We can certainly judge every exhibitors vehicle and conclude if the vehicle is safe or not but who is to say other exhibitors will see this and think their heated vehicle with their windows down a couple of inches is also acceptable? Where do we draw the line?
It’s a catch 22 situation we have here and it has left me thinking. Many senior exhibitors and judges alike are concerned they are being ‘tarred with the same brush’ as the irresponsible owners. Unfortunately, they are missing the point completely, the issue we have here is that if we uphold a rule we cannot give exemptions for certain individuals.
So lets turn the coin and imagine if there are no rules for dogs in hot cars. People would be ultimately responsible for their dogs wellbeing which, in itself is not a bad thing. If a dog tragically dies however at a dog show the first question above all else would be ‘Could this have been prevented?’ As I’ve stated above, yes absolutely. Do we as dog lovers and professionals want to uphold a good example for the general public? Yes absolutely. Above all else, the welfare of the dog is paramount and as dog lovers and professionals we must set an example towards the general public.
The issue we need to focus on now is to ensure that every show, especially in the summer, must have measures to monitor this. Patrolling vehicles, having decent not-for-competition tents that are well ventilated and monitored and reporting offenders to the appropriate authorities is the way to go forward.
Many will think these measures are unnecessary and over-the-top but if this saves just one dog a year – isn’t it worth it?