The City’s bylaw enforcement department hopes people don’t start smashing vehicle windows once warm weather returns.
Jon Wilson, community safety and enforcement manager, said in a news release Tuesday that false information is circulating on social media about pets left in overheated cars.
The misinformation suggests people can photograph a dog in a hot vehicle along with the current temperature in order to be protected legally if they smash a window to remove the dog.
“The City of Kamloops would like to clarify that this information is not accurate and should be avoided as it could result in a person being liable for damages incurred to a vehicle, and/or for unlawful entry into the vehicle,” Wilson pointed out.
In B.C., the only agencies that can legally enter a vehicle through use of force and without a warrant ( by smashing a window, for example) to retrieve an animal, are the B.C. SPCA and police, or agencies assisting them such as bylaw enforcement officers.
“This authority is strictly limited to when an animal is in “critical distress,” defined as a situation where the animal is suffering and in pain to such degree that immediate veterinary intervention is necessary to prevent the death of the animal. Entering a vehicle without the owner’s permission is an extraordinary measure that can be taken by local authorities only when it is deemed necessary through a proper assessment of the situation and condition of the animal.
If a dog is seen in a hot vehicle, the general public is advised to contact local authorities promptly with vehicle information and location. They can also help by trying to find the owner of the vehicle as quickly as possible.
Although the weather is starting to cool, the best option of all is for animal owners to be considerate of their pets and leave them at home during warm weather travel.
Public complaints about dogs in vehicles that may be in distress can be directed to bylaw enforcement at 250-828-3409 or the Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000.