'Severe' penalties coming for those who leave dogs in hot cars

The province is promising tougher fines for people who leave dogs in hot cars.

MLA Keith Colwell says province to give police power to ticket offenders

Hot cars can be particularly dangerous for both pets and children, according to the Canada Safety Council. On a summer day the temperature inside a car can soar to 50 C in as little as 10 to 20 minutes.

The province is promising tougher fines for people who leave dogs in hot cars.

Dog advocates say, every year, there are too many complaints about people leaving their pets in hot cars.

The legislation makes it difficult for police to do anything unless the animal is found dead.

But MLA Keith Colwell says the province is going to change that.

Hands tied no more

He said it's rewriting the regulations of the provincial Animal Protection Act, which will give police authority to write up a ticket.

Restaurant owners decide if dogs are allowed on their patios, but provincial laws restrict dogs from entering restaurants. (CBC)

"I instructed our staff and the justice staff to make it severe. So if they have to write a ticket it's severe. People will realize it's for real. It's not going to be a $50 fine," he said.

Colwell says the new regulations will be in the legislation in early fall.

Businesses welcome dogs

Some businesses are responding to the dogs-in-car dilemma by allowing dogs on their premises.

Joel Chiasson, general manager of The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, said they are a dog-friendly place. 

“I'd rather see a dog have a nice cold drink of water on the patio than stuck in a car with the windows up, right?" he said.

Provincial laws restrict dogs from entering inside restaurants, but whether dogs can be on patios is up to restaurant owners.

Joel Chiasson of The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse says he'd rather see a dog on a patio than stuck in a car. (CBC)

Retail stores do not have any provincial laws restricting dogs from entering stores.

"I don't understand stores that are not allowing dogs — unless it's a China shop or something of that nature,” said Janine Kent, the fashion manager of Mills on Spring Garden Road.
She said she's seen too many dogs in hot cars to ever turn one away from her shop.
Emily Tregunno, chief of marketing at Halifax Seed on Kane Street, said they offer treats and water to dogs. 

"It's a welcome place for owners to be able to come in and do their shopping,” she said. “We have lots of dog treats and toys and food here so we're happy to have them in at any time."

Dog saved from car in Amherst

Angie Burns of Angie's Pet Salon in Amherst says she was furious after hearing a dog was left in parked car in Dartmouth last weekend in 31 C — and no one was charged.

"I think it's just getting a little bit ridiculous. I mean, the warnings are out there, every year after every year, and people are just not getting the dangers of it," she said. 

Halifax Regional Police were called to the Dartmouth Costco parking lot around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. They found a small dog in a truck with the windows down slightly. 

HRP said officers at the scene felt the animal was is distress so they smashed the back window then placed the dog in an air conditioned vehicle. People have been speaking out online about how the dog was returned to the owner without consequence.

Burns says the hands of police are tied. 

She says anyone who leaves a pet in a hot car should be charged.

"I believe a fine, at least. I mean, we have to start somewhere right?"


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