Stark Warning of High Risk Could Save the Lives of Dogs and Children
August 15, 2014
Alexis Sadoti 202-483-7382
Charleston, S.C. – On the heels of the recent incident at the East Cooper Medical Center in Mount Pleasant in which nine dogs died after being left unattended in a hot car, PETA is asking to place its eye-catching advisories reading, “Warning: Children and Dogs Die in Hot Cars,” in the hospital’s parking lots.
The signs remind drivers that dogs and children can die in hot cars within minutes—something that happens all too often when drivers forget that their vulnerable family members have been left in the heat. Every summer, there are reports of dogs who have experienced agonizing deaths from heatstroke in hot cars, and since 1998, more than 600 children have died from being left in hot cars. Even on a relatively mild 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to well over 100 degrees in just minutes, even with the windows slightly open.
“It’s all too common for drivers to lock their dogs in the car—and even running into the store or the office for ‘just a minute’ can lead to distraction and then tragedy,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “By placing PETA’s signs in the parking lot, the East Cooper Medical Center will be helping visitors avoid making a tragic mistake.”
PETA also invites local business owners to e-mail Info@peta.org for a free decal, featuring the same artwork and warning as the parking lot signs, to place in store windows.
PETA’s letter to the East Cooper Medical Center follows.
August 15, 2014
Jason Alexander, CEO
East Cooper Medical Center
Dear Mr. Alexander:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across South Carolina, to ask you to join our efforts to prevent the deaths of animals and children in hot cars. The recent incident in which nine dogs died after being trapped in a car for several hours is a stark reminder of the dangers of leaving any animal or child alone in a car. Many children and dogs die every year when their guardians forget that they are in the car or leave them locked in a vehicle while they “run inside for a minute.” By placing our warning signs in hospital parking lots, we can help prevent such tragedies by providing drivers with a vital reminder that it takes only a few minutes for an animal or a child to die of heatstroke.
Since 1998, there have been more than 600 documented cases of children dying in hot cars, and every year, PETA receives reports about panicked animals who have suffered and died in agony inside vehicles during warm weather. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to well over 100 degrees in just minutes, even with the windows slightly open. Children’s bodies warm up three to five times faster than adults’ bodies do, and dogs can cool themselves only by sweating through their paw pads and panting, so these vulnerable members of our families can succumb to heatstroke in just minutes, resulting in brain damage or death.
By installing these signs, East Cooper Medical Center would send a powerful public-safety message that could help prevent motorists from making a heartbreaking and often fatal mistake while also encouraging passersby to keep a vigilant eye out for individuals left inside unattended vehicles. We have sponsored similar signs in California and would be happy to send you our signs to place in public parking areas. Thank you for your consideration.