Seattle Animal Shelter reminds pet owners to protect pets from the heat – leave animals at home while attending Hempfest this weekend

With warm temperatures expected for the annual Hempfest celebration this weekend, the Seattle Animal Shelter is reminding pet owners to exercise good judgment and leave pets at home.

Pets, besides service animals, are not allowed at Hempfest. According to the festival’s website, there is no safe place to leave or secure your pet at the event. Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan pleaded with pet owners to leave their animals at home while attending Hempfest and warned against leaving animals in vehicles.

“It’s not worth the risk,” Jordan said. “Cars in direct sunlight can reach fatal temperatures within just a few minutes, and on hot days even dogs left in the shade with the windows cracked are at risk of brain damage or death.”

Jordan also reminds pet owners that even on a 70-degree day, cars left in the sun can turn into lethal ovens, and, with the movement of the sun, cars originally left in the shade can soon be in direct sunlight.

Additionally, a new Washington law that went into effect last month makes it a violation just to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle or enclosed space, if the animal could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat or cold, lack of ventilation or lack of water. Penalties under the new law are in addition to potential animal cruelty charges.

Jordan said that humane law enforcement officers responding to calls about animals left in hot cars will utilize all means necessary to access vehicles to remove the animals.

If you are bringing your service animal to Hempfest, make sure that it is not exposed to toxic substances and be sure that it has access to plenty of water during the festival.

The Seattle Animal Shelter offers the following tips for protecting pets during hot weather:

  • Never leave your animal tethered or kenneled in direct sunlight. Provide a shady area for retreat, such as a dog house, porch or shady tree, and always provide access to plenty of cool water.
  • If you leave animals indoors, open the screened windows, keep a fan running, provide plenty of water, and if possible, leave them in a cool location.
  • Never leave dogs or cats unattended in a closed, locked vehicle. Animals do not perspire like humans; they cool themselves by panting. Vinyl, leather and even cloth seats in vehicles get hot under animals’ feet and prevent them from perspiring through their paws.
  • If you must travel with your pet, carry water. If a trip requires you leave your pet in the car at any point, think about saving that for another day. It’s not worth the risk.
  • Avoid overexerting your animal in hot weather. Exercise is fine when taken in moderation, but obesity, old age, underlying disease and previous bouts of heat stroke can predispose an animal to the condition.
  • For birds, take caution and place the bird’s cage away from direct sunlight during the intense heat of the afternoon. Provide water and fruits and vegetables with high moisture content.

If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387 (PETS).