With temperatures expected to hit 80 degrees during the annual Hempfest celebration this weekend, the Seattle Animal Shelter reminds pet owners to exercise good judgment when it comes to protecting their pets from the summer heat. If attending Hempfest, the best option is to leave your pets at home.
Pets, besides service animals, are not allowed at Hempfest. According to the festival’s website, there is no safe place to leave or secure your pet at the event. Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan pleaded for pet owners to leave their animals home while attending Hempfest and warned against leaving animals in vehicles.
“It’s not worth the risk,” Jordan said. “Cars in direct sunlight can reach fatal temperatures of 130 degrees or more within just a few minutes, and even dogs left in the shade with the windows cracked on hot days are at risk of brain damage or death.”
Jordan said that humane law enforcement officers responding to calls about animals in distress due to heat stress will utilize all means necessary to access vehicles to remove the animals.
If you are bringing your service animal to Hempfest, make sure that it is not exposed to toxic substances and be sure that it drinks plenty of water during the festival.
Jordan offered the following tips for protecting pets during hot weather:
- Never leave your animal chained or penned up directly in sunlight. Provide a shady area for retreat, such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide cool water.
- If you leave animals indoors, open the windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water, and if possible, leave them in a cool location.
- Never leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked car. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves by panting and vinyl seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevent them from perspiring through their paws.
- Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Exercise is fine when taken in moderation, but obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.
- For birds, take caution and place the bird’s cage away from direct sunlight during the intense heat of the afternoon. Provide water and fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.
Pet owners can be held criminally liable for committing cruelty to animals if a pet dies, or is found suffering from heat prostration. If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at 206-386-7387 (PETS).