Hot on the heels of the recent incident at the Walmart Supercenter in Crestview, in which a dog died after being left unattended in a parked car for 13 hours with no water or food, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter on July 3 to the store's manager, Charlie Stokes.
The letter asks him to stencil PETA's "Too Hot for Spot" public service advisory—which urges drivers to leave dogs at home during hot weather—on parking spaces in the store's lot in order to prevent deaths and near misses that can still leave dogs with brain damage.
In its letter, PETA points out that every summer, there are reports of dogs who have experienced agonizing deaths from heatstroke after being left unattended in hot cars. Shoppers often end up forgetting that dogs—and sometimes children—have been left vulnerable in the heat.
In addition, 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—and dogs, unlike humans, can't perspire through their skin.
"It's all-too-common for drivers to lock their dogs in the car—and even running into the store for 'just a minute' can lead to tragedy," says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. "By placing PETA's stenciled advisory in the parking lot, the Crestview Walmart Supercenter will be helping shoppers avoid making a tragic mistake."
The content of the letter sent to Stokes is below.
Dear Mr. Stokes:
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 Florida—to implore you to take an important step that could save many lives. Would you please place our "Too Hot for Spot" public service advisory on your store's parking spaces? The recent incident which a Crestview Walmart shopper left her dog, Waldo, in a vehicle for 13 hours, resulting in the animal's death, highlights the need to offer frequent reminders that dogs must never be left unattended in vehicles, particularly in warm weather.
Every year, PETA receives reports about panicked animals who have suffered and died in agony inside cars 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. Because dogs can cool themselves only by sweating through their paw pads and panting, they often sustain brain damage and even die from heatstroke in just minutes.
Despite frequent coverage of tragic incidents such as this one in the media, drivers continue to place their animals' lives at risk by leaving them in cars parked outside a business while they run inside, even if it's only for "just a minute." By simply placing our stenciled advisory on every third parking space, you could help prevent shoppers from making a fatal mistake like the one that claimed the life of Waldo.
We would be pleased to provide you with our eye-catching stencil at no cost. I look forward to working with you. Thank you for your consideration.
Allison Fandl, Special Projects Coordinator
Cruelty Investigations Department