Mall’s Pet Patrol keeps an eye out for dogs left in hot cars
July 11, 2013:
Stationed at one of the five main entrances of Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, Abdul is one of 10 security guards looking out for the little guy.
Namir Abdul smiled after asking a driver if he had pets in his car.
“Way to go man, you keep those pets safe,” the passenger said to Abdul.
He’s a member of the Pet Patrol, and don’t you forget it.
After a successful pilot project last summer, the mall now stations two security guards at each main entrance to the mall parking lot to look for shoppers’ pets when temperatures rise to about 30C.
It’s an educational campaign, said Stephen Gascoine, general manager of the shopping mall, to inform pet owners who have brought a canine (or other animal) to the mall about the potential danger extreme heat poses to their furry friends.
It’s a gentle reminder to pet owners, he added.
“There are people that it might slip their mind that leaving their pet in the vehicle in hot conditions may endanger the pet’s life,” Gascoine said.
The idea for the patrol came after a dog belonging to a couple from Sudbury died when left in a hot vehicle at the mall last June.
Security guard Namir Abdul is one of a group at the sprawling Vaughan Mills centre reminding shoppers about the dangers of leaving a pet locked in the car on a hot day.
Mall security personnel tried to splash water on the dog to cool it through a small opening in the window, but were unsuccessful. Fire crews later broke open a back window after the dog had fallen unconscious and attempted to resuscitate it. But it died at the scene.
“When that incident occurred … it pushed us to be more proactive to address this issue, to have more additional eyes on the lots for these potential situations,” Gascoine said.
According to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a dog’s normal body temperature is about 39C and dogs can only stand being at 41C for a short time before irreparable brain damage or death occur.
“Overall, it’s being well-received,” Gascoine said. “There are a significant number of pet owners who appreciate these kinds of measures.”
The pet protection doesn’t stop at the parking lot entrances, said Gascoine. The mall has staff patrolling the lots and keeping track of cars that have animals in them.
If security personnel feel an animal is in distress, they are asked to contact animal services or police, Gascoine said.
He hopes the program will help owners think twice about bringing their pets to the mall.
“Maybe moving forward they won’t bring their pet with them in case they had to leave them for a long period of time in the car,” he said.
According to the Toronto Humane Society, breeds tolerate heat differently and even five minutes in a vehicle on a blazing hot day would be too much for most pets.
Content Source: By: Andrew Livingstone News reporter