What to do if you find a pet left in a vehicle

Released: July 25, 2023 at 1:54 p.m.

We are all becoming more aware of the risks related to leaving a pet inside a vehicle, especially on hot and sunny days. Pets should NEVER be left alone in a vehicle, even for a few minutes, during warm weather. 

If you see an animal left in a vehicle on a warm day, we recommend you to first take these steps:

  • Write down the location (street name, address, location in a parking lot), and a physical description (make and model, colour, license plate, whether windows are open) of the vehicle.
  • Write down a description of the animal (size, colour, species, approximate age, and the colour of its gums if visible), including its behaviour (alert, barking, panting, drooling, unconscious) and whether it has any water inside the vehicle.

If several people are available, share responsibilities to help resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

  • Have one person remain by the vehicle to monitor the animal’s condition.
  • Try to keep the environment around the vehicle and animal calm and quiet, providing shade and ventilation to the vehicle if possible.
  • If the vehicle is parked in a public area, like a store parking lot, notify staff members or customer service personnel immediately with the written description of the vehicle and animal. They may be able to page and quickly locate the animal owner to resolve the situation.
  • If the vehicle is parked in a residential area and you feel it is safe to do so, ask neighbours if the vehicle or animal is known to them.
  • Do not attract a crowd of onlookers or stimulate activity in the animal. The additional stress of the situation could make the animal’s heat stress worse.
  • Contact local animal welfare enforcement agencies to report the situation and have an animal protection officer attend. 

In Winnipeg: call the Winnipeg Humane Society Emergency Line at 204-982-2020

anywhere in Manitoba (including Winnipeg): contact the Animal Care Line at 204-945-8000 or 1-888-945-8001 (toll-free) or your local police detachment

Visit the Government of Manitoba website for more information on who to call and what to do.

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