MORE than 130 dogs were left in hot cars last year in Cheshire, RSPCA figures reveal, sparking a major campaign.

Across the county there were 135 reports which contributed to a three-year high despite campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in cars on hot days.

A number of animal charities, vets and organisation have teamed up to spread the message, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, today, Monday.

The RSPCA’s emergency line in England and Wales received 8,290 reports last year – despite key advice for members of the public being to report emergencies to police via 999 as officers can attend more quickly and have power of entry to locked vehicles.

Dogs Die in Hot Cars campaign manager, Holly Barber from the RSPCA, said: "It’s extremely concerning that despite all of our campaigning, dog owners are still ignoring our warnings and risking their pets’ lives by leaving them alone in cars on warm days.

"How many more dogs need to die before people realise that that split second decision - usually made due to convenience - could have life-changing consequences?"

British Veterinary Association junior vice president, Daniella Dos Santos, said: "Vets all too often see the unfortunate and sometimes tragic consequences of dogs being left on their own in cars, and it’s deeply worrying that so many owners are still prepared to take this risk despite numerous warnings.

"With summer just around the corner, it’s vital that everyone thinks twice about leaving dogs in a hot car even for a short while: ‘not long’ is too long."

What to do if you see a dog in a car on a hot day:

  • In an emergency, dial 999 and report a dog in a hot car to police.
  • If the situation becomes critical and police can’t attend, many people’s instinct is to break into the car to free the dog. Be aware that, without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage.
  • Make sure you tell the police of your intentions and take photos or footage of the dog as well as names and numbers of witnesses.
  • Once removed from the car, move the dog to a shaded or cool area and douse him/her with cool water. Allow the dog to drink small amounts of cool water.
  • If the dog isn’t displaying signs of heatstroke, establish how long the dog has been in the car, make a note of the registration and get someone to monitor its condition.

You can call the RSPCA’s 24-hour emergency cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 for advice but, if a dog is in danger, dialling 999 should always be the first step.