ICBC & BC SPCA urge pet guardians to Drive Smart by keeping pets safe on summer road trips

According to a recent survey of ICBC’s customers*, 40 per cent of pet guardians plan to bring their pet on a road trip this summer. With only half of guardians saying they own a vehicle restraint or safety device for their pet, ICBC and the BC SPCA are urging drivers to drive smart and consider the safety of their pets when riding in a vehicle.

Of all pet guardians surveyed, only half (52 per cent) own a safety device, with cat guardians (85 per cent) more likely to own one over dog guardians (45 per cent). Cat guardians were also more likely to be consistent with its use – 87 per cent said they ‘always’ use a restraint versus dog guardians at 55 per cent. The reasons given for those that never or rarely used a restraint include that their pet is calm, that it’s safe for a pet to be loose, and that the trip is short.

ICBC and the BC SPCA recommend always using some form of safety restraint whenever travelling with a pet, even for mild-mannered pets or when running a quick errand around town. In the event of a crash, a loose animal can fly forward in your vehicle, causing further injury to themselves and to others in the vehicle. Pet harnesses/safety belts and hard-shell crates secured down are sound options.

To keep this member of the family safest, pets should never sit in the front seat, but be secured in the back seat or cargo area of an SUV or van. Most pet guardians reported that their pet rode in the back seat (50 per cent), while 18 per cent said their pet rode in the front seat, and 16 per cent rode in the cargo area.

Guardians should also take steps to prevent their pet from becoming a distraction to drivers. Distraction is the second-leading contributing cause of fatal crashes in B.C., killing 78 people a year. While three-quarters of respondents agreed that playing with a pet while driving is distracting, some pet guardians admitted to the following actions while driving:

  • Used arms to restrain pet’s movements when putting on the brakes, 14 per cent

  • Used arms to keep pet from climbing from the back seat to the front seat, 13 per cent

  • Reached into the back seat to interact with pet, 12 per cent

  • Allowed pet to sit on their lap, or held pet while driving, five per cent

  • Gave food to pet while driving, five per cent

  • Played with pet, 2 per cent

  • Taken a photo of pet, 1 per cent

Quotes:

“Part of driving smart is making sure everyone in the vehicle – including pets, are secured before leaving home,” said Lindsay Matthews, interim vice president responsible for road safety. “In the event of a crash, this prevents passengers from incurring further injury, while keeping the pet safe, too.”

“Many drivers consider a pet as part of their family,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “And as with any loved one that rides in your vehicle, we hope drivers will take steps to keep their dog or cat seated, secure and safe during every drive.”

One customer wrote, “A far greater concern I have relates to the distraction pets cause to the driver and thus danger to pedestrians and other members of the motoring public. I have witnessed persons driving, holding the dog or cat between themselves and the steering wheel. This does not provide any safety to the animal and certainly impedes the driver’s ability to adequately react.”

Drive Smart tips for pet guardians:

Tip #1: Use a safety device to protect your pet. Loose animals in the event of crash can become a projectile, injuring themselves and others in the vehicle. Animals can also pose a safety risk for first responders, as a disoriented and injured animal may try to attack an attendant or even cause another crash by running into traffic.

Tip #2: Let your dog be the backseat driver. Pets are safest when secured in the back seat or cargo area. For the same reason ICBC discourages children under 12 from sitting in the front seat of vehicle, the same safety risks of a deployed air bag can have devastating consequences for animals as well.

Tip #3: Prevent pet distraction by packing the essentials. Keep pets content by bringing food, water, dishes, bedding and toys. For road trips, it’s best to stock your vehicle with a pet first-aid kit. And plan for a pit stop every few hours – it’s good for drivers and pets alike to stretch and get fresh air.

Tip #4: Keep pets inside the vehicle while driving. While it’s tempting to let your dog hang his head out the window for the breeze, this can lead to eye injuries due to weather, heavy wind, fly debris or objects coming close to your vehicle. Disable your power windows to prevent your dog from accidentally opening a window, causing it to escape or have the window close on its neck.

Tip #5: Do not drive with your pet on your lap. This can prevent you from having full control of your vehicle. Your pet could also be seriously injured or killed by a deployed airbag in the event of a crash. Drivers can be ticketed for driving with ‘without due care and attention’, with a fine of $368 and six penalty points which comes with a fine of $300.

Tip #6: Secure your pet if travelling in the back of a pick-up truck. It is illegal and dangerous to travel with an unsecured pet in the exterior of a truck. If you must transport your pet in the back of a truck, the safest method is in a secured crate in the centre of your truck box. Learn more on the BC SPCA’s website.

Tip #7: If you’re not in the car, your dog shouldn’t be either. Vehicles can quickly heat up in summer weather, and can endanger your pet’s health. Even a car parked in the shade with the windows cracked open can get hot enough to cause heatstroke or death of an animal.

Visit the BC SPCA’s website or ICBC’s pet travel page for more safety tips.

*ICBC Customer Advisory Panel survey, taken June 2018, 1,557 total participants, 45 per cent identified as pet owners.

No reported right whale deaths in Canadian waters so far in 2018, officials say

By Keith Doucette

THE CANADIAN PRESS

HALIFAX _ There have been no reported deaths of North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters this year _ with dozens of the endangered mammals spotted amid strict fishing and vessel speed restrictions, federal officials say.

There were 12 whale deaths last year in Canadian waters, half of those in June.

“Earlier in the year there was a report in the United States of one (death) … but in Canadian waters there have been none,” said Adam Burns, director general of fisheries resource management at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

At least 18 right whales have been found dead overall in Canadian and U.S. waters since 2017, likely due to rope entanglements and ship collisions.

DFO said Thursday that aerial surveillance had so far detected at least 75 whales in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“This number likely underestimates the total number of right whales that may be present in the southern Gulf or in Canadian waters at this time,” said Jean Landry, the department’s director of marine mammal science.

Landry said observers had logged 371 flying hours since early April, more than last year’s total by science aircraft.

Meanwhile, DFO has temporarily closed 4,600 square kilometres of the Gulf and another 780 square kilometres in the Roseway Basin off Nova Scotia’s southern coast to non-tended fixed gear fisheries such as snow crab and lobster.

The closures have drawn the ire of some lobster fishermen, who say the latest closures have squeezed them into tight proximity in zones that are already heavily fished.

Nearly 500 brought empty lobster traps to Caraquet, N.B., on Thursday to protest against the continuing closures. They created a wall of traps outside a building where Acadie-Bathurst Liberal MP Serge Cormier has an office.

But with the lobster and snow crab seasons set to wrap up at the end of this month, Burns said DFO isn’t about to relent on urgent measures, given the unprecedented number of right whale deaths last year.

“These measures have a real impact on fish harvesters, processors, and communities in Atlantic Canada; however the long-term economic risks of not adequately protecting North Atlantic right whales is greater,” Burns said.

He said there has already been a temporary suspension of Marine Stewardship Council certification for the snow crab fishery in the southern Gulf, and additional trade and eco-certification impacts could result in “long term serious economic impacts to coastal communities in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.”

Still the industry continues to speak out with an eye to the future after reports of lobster landings that are down by as much as 25 per cent in some areas.

Groups such as the Maritime Fishermen’s Union and the Pecheurs professionnels du Sud de la Gaspesie have said frustration is mounting after Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc decided not to exempt waters up to 10 fathoms deep from the closures.

LeBlanc has said he isn’t insensitive to fishermen’s concerns and Ottawa is considering ways to alleviate the economic hardship. That includes measures to help processing plant workers qualify for Employment Insurance, and a possible fall opening of the lobster fishery to make up for lost days.

The Lobster Council of Canada called for measures that balance protection with the impact on fishermen.

“While we all agree we must do what we can to ensure the protection of the North Atlantic right whale, we believe we must continue to monitor the impact many of these mitigation measures are having on the people and communities that rely on the lobster fishery for their livelihood,” council executive director Geoff Irvine said in a news release Wednesday.

“We need to continue to look for the right balance to allow the fishery to continue while ensuring the right whale’s protection.”

Meanwhile, Transport Canada provided statistics on its mandatory slow-down area in the western Gulf, where vessels of 20 metres or larger are limited to a speed of 10 knots.

Luc Brisebois, executive director of marine safety and security, said 1,085 vessels have been monitored to date. Of that number, 106 were recorded above the speed limit.

“Out of those 106, there were 84 deemed non-violation,” Brisebois said, for issues related to time at speed, and the effects of weather or sea conditions.

He said 21 cases are still under review, but since the slowdown was implemented April 28 only one vessel has been found in violation, resulting in a $6,000 fine.

BC SPCA reminds public not to leave animals in hot cars

With the recent warm weather and several calls already received by the BC SPCA about animals in hot cars, the animal welfare society is again, reminding people to leave their pets at home if they can’t keep them safe.

Cars can become death traps in 10 minutes

“People don’t realize just how quickly their cars can become death traps for their pets – it can take as little as 10 minutes for the vehicle to reach temperatures where the animal can suffer irreparable brain damage or death,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.

“We know that if people are taking their pets with them, it’s because they love them and want to spend time with them, but we really do encourage pet guardians to please, leave their pets at home when they’re going out in the car.”

What to do if you see a dog in distress in a parked vehicle:

  • Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately;
  • Is the animal in distress? Call your local animal control agency, police, or the BC SPCA hotline at 1-855-622-7722 as soon as possible. Note: It is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle themselves; only RCMP and Special Provincial Constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle. SPCA branch staff and volunteers cannot enter vehicles.
  • Keep emergency supplies – bottled water, a small bowl, a towel that can be soaked in water- in your car so that you help hydrate an animal (if a window has been left open) while you wait for emergency response; a battery-powered fan from a dollar store also can be handy to circulate air.

Dogs can’t release heat by sweating

In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Dogs have no sweat glands, so they can only cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws, which they cannot do in a vehicle that has become an oven, she notes. Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time – in some cases just minutes – before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

Pet guardians should be alert to heatstroke symptoms, which include: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting, and collapse.

If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should do the following:

  • Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place
  • Wet the dog with cool water
  • Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature.
  • Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling.
  • Allow the dog to drink some cool water (or to lick ice cream if no water is available)
  • Take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.

“Your dog will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh cool water,” Chortyk says. “It is such a preventable tragedy.”

If people see a dog in a hot car who they think is in distress, they should call municipal animal control authorities or local law enforcement immediately.

Why pets make terrible Christmas presents!

Why pets make terrible Christmas presents!

Christmas is fast approaching and along with it comes the tradition of giving and receiving presents. This is the time when most think: what am I going to get him or her for Christmas?  Well, as cute and tempting as it is, giving a pet as a Christmas gift may not be the best idea!

Deciding to adopt a new pet should result from a well-considered decision:

Giving a pet as a present could be filled with moments of excitement and happiness for both the giver and receiver. However, both parties need to realize that this relationship involves a commitment that will last for years! So, before making this decision, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does this person really want a pet? Even if he/she expressed the wish to adopt a pet, maybe they were not sure.
  • If yes, is it a dog or cat? What breed has he/she chosen and will it fit with their lifestyle? The breed and temperament are very important to consider.
    • Has this future pet-owner prepared their home for their furry family member? For example, it is important they provide scratching posts for cats to express their natural need to mark their territory.
    • Is this person ready to walk a dog at least twice a day?
  • Is he/she or a member of his/her family allergic to pets?
  • Is he/she a landlord or a tenant? A lot of landlords still don’t accept pets. Relinquishment is also very common when tenants move to another place where pets are not accepted.
  • Does this person have the financial resources to take care of a pet? This includes yearly veterinary examinations, vaccines, deworming, flea and tick treatments, food and either insurance or savings in cases of emergency.
  • Is this pet being considered for a child?  Whether the pet in question is a dog, cat, rabbit, hamster or fish, parents of small children should be fully prepared to be the main caregivers of any pet(s) they adopt. Kids quickly lose interest in pets and will not always take responsibility for their care.

Adopting a pet always requires some preparation:

  • If there is already a pet in the house, they should be prepared to accommodate as this can be a stressful period for all the animals in the household.
  • Adopting a new pet also means buying the essentials: leash, litter boxes, training pads, food, toys etc.

Unless you are prepared to consider all of the questions above, we strongly recommend you to opt for another gift! If you find yourself hesitating, it is most likely that this present is definitely not a good idea. Consult with your veterinary team if you are considering adopting a pet over the holidays or have any questions; they can help you with this important decision.

SOURCE Canadian Animal Health Institute

Hot pets are not cool: BC SPCA reminds public not to leave animals in hot cars

Cars can become death traps in 10 minutes

“People don’t realize just how quickly their cars can become death traps for their pets – it can take as little as 10 minutes for the vehicle to reach temperatures where the animal can suffer irreparable brain damage or death,” says Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.

“We know that if people are taking their pets with them, it’s because they love them and want to spend time with them, but we really do encourage pet guardians to please, leave their pets at home when they’re going out in the car.”

What to do if you see a dog in distress in a parked vehicle:

  • Note the license plate and vehicle information and ask managers of nearby businesses to page the owner to return to their vehicle immediately;
  • Call to report the hot dog in car situation if no owner is found or when animal is suffering symptoms of heatstroke. During the daytime, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, call the BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 and staff will troubleshoot and help connect you with your local animal control agency or police. In an emergency, call 911 for RCMP attendance. Note: It is illegal for members of the public to break a window to access the vehicle themselves; only RCMP and Special Provincial Constables of the BC SPCA can lawfully enter a vehicle. SPCA branch staff and volunteers cannot enter vehicles.
  • Keep emergency supplies – bottled water, a small bowl, a towel that can be soaked in water- in your car so that you help hydrate an animal (if a window has been left open) while you wait for emergency response; a battery-powered fan from a dollar store also can be handy to circulate air.
  • Be an advocate! Help spread the word that pets and hot vehicles are a fatal mix. Put up a copy of our “Hot Pets? Not Cool!” infographic in stores, malls and other areas in your community where pets are left unattended in vehicles.

Dogs can’t release heat by sweating

In just minutes, the temperature in a parked car can climb to well over 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Dogs have no sweat glands, so they can only cool themselves by panting and by releasing heat through their paws, which they cannot do in a vehicle that has become an oven, she notes. Dogs can withstand high temperatures for only a very short time – in some cases just minutes – before suffering irreparable brain damage or death.

Pet guardians should be alert to heatstroke symptoms, which include: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting), rapid or erratic pulse, salivation, anxious or staring expression, weakness and muscle tremors, lack of coordination, convulsions or vomiting, and collapse.

If your dog shows symptoms of heatstroke, you should do the following:

  • Immediately move the animal to a cool, shady place
  • Wet the dog with cool water
  • Fan vigorously to promote evaporation. This will cool the blood, which reduces the animal’s core temperature.
  • Do not apply ice. This constricts blood flow, which will inhibit cooling.
  • Allow the dog to drink some cool water (or to lick ice cream if no water is available)
  • Take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible for further treatment.

“Your dog will be much happier – and safer – at home, with shade and plenty of fresh cool water,” Chortyk says. “It is such a preventable tragedy.”

If people see a dog in a hot car who they think is in distress, they should call municipal animal control authorities or local law enforcement immediately.

BC SPCA escalates rescue efforts for animals affected by wildfires

The BC SPCA is escalating rescue efforts to help animals impacted by B.C.’s raging wildfires.

“Our staff and volunteers have been very active in supporting emergency services in affected areas, but as the wildfires spread we are escalating our involvement,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA.

“The animal evacuation centre being operated by the Prince George Humane Society with the support of the SPCA is now full so the BC SPCA has set up a second Evacuation Dog Care Site in the Duchess Park Warehouse at 747 Winnipeg Street in Prince George,” says Chortyk. “There are currently 35 dogs in care but the facility has the capacity to handle more incoming dogs.” Dog owners will be referred to the SPCA-run centre by local Emergency Social Services personnel.

The BC SPCA has also deployed a number of special constables from its cruelty investigations department to a base camp in Clearwater, where they will be providing support in rescuing animals trapped behind fire evacuation lines.

“In addition we have transferred more than 130 homeless animals in our care from SPCA shelters in the Cariboo region to our facilities in the Interior, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to free up space for temporary emergency sheltering for animals impacted by the fires,” says Chortyk.

She said the BC SPCA has also contacted large pet supply companies about shipping urgently needed pet food and supplies to evacuation centres.

In areas where evacuated families are seeking temporary shelter the BC SPCA is also offering free spaces for kids in their week-long summer camps (as capacity allows).

“The situation and the needs are changing on a daily basis, but the BC SPCA is in regular contact with provincial and local ESS officials and our staff and volunteers are ready and willing to help however we can,” said Chortyk.

The BC SPCA has set up a special online emergency donation site (spca.bc.ca/emergencyalert) to help animals affected by the wildfires.

Update:

The BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre (1-855-622-7722) is now also fielding calls from pet owners in the Cariboo Regional District who require officers to attend, feed/water animals and remove animals if given the authority to do so by the owners. Currently the call centre is managing calls from the 100, 103, 108, 150 Mile areas as well as Lac La Hache and Williams Lake.

Source: BC SPCA

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