UPDATE: Hempfest organizers have indicated that dogs, other than service animals, will not be allowed to enter the festival. When you show up at the gates with your pet and are turned away, DO NOT take your dogs to your car. Take them home. It’s not worth the risk!
With temperatures expected to be in the 70s and 80s 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 and leave your pets at home.
“Each year during Hempfest, the Animal Shelter is inundated with calls about pets locked in cars on hot summer days,” says Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan. “Many pet owners are unaware that cars left in direct sunlight turn into lethal ovens, reaching fatal temperatures of 130 degrees or more within just a few minutes. Even dogs left locked in cars in the shade with the windows cracked on hot days are at risk of brain damage or death. Dogs must cool themselves through panting and their systems can’t handle high temperatures.”
Jordan pleads with pet owners to leave their animals home while attending Hempfest this coming weekend. “It’s not worth the risk,” he says. “If humane law enforcement officers respond to a call about an animal in distress due to heat stress, the officer will utilize all means necessary to access the vehicle and remove the animal,” Jordan says.
If you bring a service dog to Hempfest, be sure that it isn’t exposed to toxic substances and that it drinks plenty of water during the festival.
Jordan offers the following tips for protecting pets during hot weather:
- Never leave your animal chained or penned up directly in sunlight. Provide a shady area where the animal can retreat to such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide cool water.
- If you must leave an animal 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. Temperatures can exceed 130 degrees in a matter of minutes. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves through their lungs by panting. Hot air can lead to brain damage or death. Also, be aware that vinyl seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevents them from perspiring through their paws. Remember, with the movement of the sun, a vehicle originally parked in the shade may soon be in direct sunlight.
- 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.
- 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).