Last month, we rescued over 100 pets from cars, with the majority of calls received by the vehicle owner.
You do not need to be a Member to call the NRMA in this situation, however you must be the vehicle owner. Because of the grave danger involved, we drop everything to respond to these calls which are managed through a priority line. Upon arrival, we provide skills and equipment to enter the vehicle or support emergency services.
The majority of these emergency calls are made by the vehicle owner, where permission has been given to access the vehicle. If you are not the vehicle custodian (eg, passer-by), try the obvious solution of checking if any doors are unlocked. If not, you should contact the emergency services immediately (000) who will liaise directly with the NRMA or who may break the window themselves, depending on the circumstances.
While most vehicles can be unlocked by following appropriate lock-out procedures, there will be circumstances when breaking a window will be the most reasonable action.
There are specific provisions in relation to ‘Carriage and Conveyance’ of animals in the Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act. In relation to dogs locked in cars, section 5 would apply: “a person in charge of an animal shall not fail at any time (b) where pain is being inflicted upon the animal to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to alleviate the pain”.
In relation to the provision of water, Section 8 (1) states that ‘a person in charge of an animal shall not fail to provide the animal with food, drink or shelter etc’.
These offences can carry fines of $5,500 and up to six months in jail. If a dog dies as a result of being left in a car, charges include $22,500 in fines and two years jail time for the owner.
We encourage all our Members to take the RSPCA Pledge to never leave your dog in a hot car.
Have you ever come across a pet locked inside a vehicle. What did you do?