Anyone will tell you that I am the biggest softie alive, especially when it comes to animals. I'm one of those that used to cry at 'Animal Hospital' and similar programmes whenever a pet was put down and the mere thought of animal cruelty or some poor creature being hunted to extinction would make my blood boil. And when it comes to dogs I'm a real sucker, having been very attached to my own little pooch whilst he was still alive. Things like animal neglect etc. still upset me as I really don't get why or how someone can treat a pet or other non domesticated animal in such an awful way. (The way we as a society treat creation in general upsets me too, we have so little respect for nature and everything in it.)
The case last year of two police dogs dying in a hot car shocked many. Similar ones have for years and I am totally in favour of campaigns to try and make people think about leaving their dog in the car on a hot day and what may happen to it. I saw this one pop up on Facebook earlier today;
You can view the full details of the campaign by clicking here.
As much as I agree with their intention to raise awareness about the effects of heat on pets, to reduce abuse and neglect I do have an issue with something they've said. Under the "emergencies" tab it lists advice on what to do should you see a dog in such a situation. It recommends as a first port of call that people dial 999 to report it to the police. Yes, people are responsible for the care and well being of their pets but 999 is an emergency number, to be used in urgent cases only. This number was introduced over 75 years ago to reduce and report serious crime and to help save lives from fires and so on. It was introduced for the protection of people in the event of an emergency, not dogs in hot cars. Some might say that a dog suffering and in danger of death would count as pretty urgent and requires immediate attention. It certainly does but the emergency services are there to ensure the safety of human beings and not animals. If you see a baby or small child locked in a hot car and overheating that is a totally different issue, 999 would be the appropriate number to dial. I know one person who would argue with me that it is no less right to ring the police to save the life of a dog as opposed to the life of a small child if they have been left and neglected. An animal lover I may firmly be but humanising our pets, seeing human traits in them does not make them people. As hard as it is for some to hear people take priority. The life of a person is of a much greater value and we have to remember that. We have heard many times about how over stretched the system already is, we even now have a non-urgent number for less pressing cases, so we should not be actively encouraging people to use this for what it is not intended. Call the RSPCA, call the local police, but using 999 is inappropriate and may cost a person their life.