A shopping mall in Dartmouth has launched a pet patrol to try to stop people from leaving animals inside cars on hot days.

Those involved in pet patrol wear neon shirts and walk around the parking lot of Mic Mac Mall.

pet patrol

Pet patrollers wear neon shirts and look for pets in distress at Mic Mac Mall. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Mall security has always monitored the lot. But the pet patrol started after an incident last month when police smashed a car window to get a dog out of a hot car.

Patrollers look for signs like open windows.

If a dog is found inside, security will attempt to contact the driver by paging them. If the pet appears to be in distress, the mall calls police.

Dog owner Angela Risk thinks the program is a good idea.

She says she makes sure her teacup Yorkies, Ela and Lexi, get plenty of fresh air during shopping trips. While her husband is inside, she's out with the dogs.

"I think people don't realize how hard it is on the animals and perhaps maybe if they were to sit in a vehicle themselves for the amount of time in the conditions the dogs are being left in, they might realize that it's very detrimental to the animals," Risk said.

Other shoppers agree.

“You wouldn't leave your own baby in a car, so I think that you wouldn't leave your dog, as well, in a car,” said Carolyn Page.

Mic Mac Mall says it will continue the program depending on weather and temperature conditions.

If you spot a child or dog left in a car, call 902-490-5020 to report it to Halifax Regional Police. Police advise calling 911 if either children or animals are in distress.