Thursday, July 07, 2022 - 9:30 AM

Pet Safety Reminders for Motorists

Image of a dog in the back seat of a vehicle, looking out the window.

The City of St. John's Humane Services and the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) are reminding motorists about the importance of pet safety this summer. If you are driving with your pet, they must be secured properly in the vehicle. If you are parking your vehicle, please do not leave your pet unattended in a hot car.

“It’s important for all residents to keep safety top of mind when travelling this summer, and this is especially important for pet owners who may choose to travel with their pets in the vehicle,” said Councillor Maggie Burton, Council lead for Humane Services.

When not secured properly, pets can create a distraction for the driver, and this could be very dangerous for both animals and people.

“It is no secret that distracted driving is a common cause of collisions on roads throughout our communities,” said Constable James Cadigan, RNC. “Pets become a part of that equation when they are not safely secured inside our vehicles. It is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act to operate a vehicle with an obstructed view, or to drive without due care and attention. Prevent risk and take the steps to safely secure your pet during your travels.”

It is recommended that all pets be secured in the back seat, or in the hatch of the vehicle. Options include a secured carry kennel, a pet seatbelt harness or booster seat, or a pet barrier/safety netting.

“I would also like to remind the public that pets should not be left unattended in parked cars, even in moderate summer temperatures, a vehicle can heat up significantly in just a few minutes,” said Councillor Burton.

Cracking a window does not significantly impact the inside temperature of a car. Dogs that are senior, overweight, short nosed, or have medical conditions are particularly at risk for heat stroke.

If you notice a pet in distress, or left unattended in a warm vehicle you can:

  • Note the license plate number, make/model of the car and ask the business customer service staff to make an announcement for the owner to return to the vehicle.
  • Call the RNC to report vehicle details and location at 709-729-8000.

Alternatives to leaving your pet in a vehicle include using a drive-thru or curbside pickup; asking a friend or family member to stay outside with your pet while you are inside; choose pet friendly stores; or leave your pet at home.