Rescuing animals from hot cars

The NSPCA explained that even in this day and age, animals are left in boiling hot cars and can cause extreme suffering and even death. Photo: Pixabay (For depiction purposes only).

A post circulated on social media earlier this week regarding concerned residents breaking vehicle windows in order to rescue animals left in hot cars.

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The post claimed that if you take a picture of the vehicle and the licence plate, and a screenshot of an up-to-date weather report; community members will not be charged with criminal damages and it provides the police with evidence to take the owners to court. However, the NSPCA and police have urged community members not to take the law into their own hands when it comes to freeing an animal from a vehicle.

According to the NSPCA, such recourse will, unfortunately, not prevent criminal damages charges. And although it may be extremely difficult to remain calm in such a situation, discretion is advised. “Although we desperately want to assist the animals, we have to be sure that the animal in the car is, indeed, at risk before we consider any action of this nature in order to not find ourselves on the wrong side of the law,” said national senior inspector, Wilma Steynbergh.

She added that it does not matter if the window is slightly open. “There still may not be enough shade and it’s still not acceptable.”

She suggested contacting the police station or a local SPCA to assist with the situation.

Linden Police Station spokesperson, Captain Walter Spencer said, “We advise the public not to take the law into their own hands. Rather call 10111, get a log number and let the police handle it from there.” If you are at a shopping centre, Spencer suggested contacting the security officers who can assist further.

The NSPCA recommended that the correct thing to do would be to act without delay and, firstly, attempt to determine what condition the animal is in. If the owner cannot be located in time, a police officer or the SPCA must be approached if possible. The local SPCA can be contacted with the details and they will attend to the matter.

“If you feel like this may be animal abuse, you can still take photos and screenshots of the weather. This may help if it is, in fact, a case of animal abuse. Also, get as many witnesses as you can that would be able to testify,” added Spencer.

The NSPCA explained that even in this day and age, this kind of neglect happens frequently and can cause extreme suffering and even death for the unfortunate animals.

Details: Police 10111 or NSPCA 011 907 3590.

Ashtyn Mackenzie

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