Hayley Matthews: It’s OK, I’ll only smash your window with good reason

Don't leave your dog in a hot car with no ventilation
Don't leave your dog in a hot car with no ventilation
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The weather’s been great and the weather guru that is Sean Batty says this will continue, and I quote “The sun has been very strong recently, and we’re only five weeks away from the summer solstice.”

Woo hoo, I hear you shout. But not if you’re a hairy wee dug being driven about and left in the back of the car. Cue sad doggy face and take-me-to-the-park-with-a-ball puppy eyes.

I’m not a weather girl, so why am I giving you this information and why the mention of the dogs? Well, it’s as simple as this: dogs die in hot cars. A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22C, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47C within the hour. Very hot indeed. Lethal in fact.

I’m always aware of this (I’m not a dog owner, but an animal lover) so every time I see a dog in a car on a hot day, with NO windows open, I leave a note. Yes, I’m that person who leaves a note on your windscreen, written with lipstick on the back of a school report card, telling you that you MUST LEAVE A WINDOW OPEN.

I have done this many a time. I’ve always been lucky enough to never have to break a window to save a panting, tongue-swinging, overheating bow wow but the big guns will come out should it be needed (see note at the bottom of my article on how to do this without getting yourself arrested).

I’m sure you’d thank me for it after and I’d obviously help tape up your window. My dad fixes up cars and I’m sure we could come to some agreement but that’s a completely different story altogether.

My latest piece of lipstick writing, note-leaving artwork was in Musselburgh during the week. I saw a car parked on the high street with a large dog in the back (think the Churchill dog but much bigger) that had its tongue hanging out and yep, you guessed it, no window open. So out came the note. They returned to the car promptly and drove off. Not sure if they saw my note but I’m sure the dog was relieved to see them.

Who the hell am I to leave a note on people’s cars? I know, and I’m also sure you love your dog more than I do. So please people, keep the windaes open for the wee and big hairy dugs.

I’ll leave you with some advice from the RSPCA on what to do if you see a dog struggling in a hot car: “If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 immediately. If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away/unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog.

“If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.

“Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do, why, and take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident.”

Hayley Matthews is a presenter on STV2