If you see a child or an animal locked in a vehicle on a hot summer day, the short answer as you assess the situation, may mean calling 911.
The hot summer days have rolled out this week prompting Environment Canada to issue heat warnings in the Midwest and Lloydminster areas. A hot car can get to dangerously high temperatures in less than an hour, which can have major detrimental health effects.
Constable Melanie Flynn with the Lloydminster RCMP says while someone concerned might have the instinct to break a window to help, breaking the glass should not be the action taken.
‘You’re going to want to monitor and keep your eyes on the animal or the child. If there [are] any signs of distress or duress, definitely make a phone call for assistance. We don’t really want to advocate for smashing people’s windows because that could lead to mischief charges.”
Ways concerned citizens can be of help is by looking around for the owner of the vehicle, calling in a bylaw or RCMP officer, determining if the car is running with AC on, and checking if the child or animal is in distress. These are all questions on the checklist to avoid smashing windows, Flynn notes.
Flynn says a driver leaving a child in a vehicle could be facing charges relating to criminal negligence, Child Protection and Child Welfare charges.
Flynn says Section 12 of the Animal Protection Act deals with cruelty to animals and that could be one area where a charge could be laid and bring someone into court. Then there are the City’s Bylaws which deal with unintentional harm to an animal.
“People leave animals in the vehicle with vehicles running and the air conditioner on and windows down, but it does get very hot in those vehicles fast. We want to remind citizens of that with the plus 30 weather we’ve been having.”
For harm to animals, under City bylaws fines could range from $500 to $2500 depending on the severity of the negligence.