The death of four dogs has led police and NSW Farmers to urge owners to provide water and shade for their animals when they come to town in hot weather.
Police are investigating the deaths of four dogs on the back of a ute parked outside a pub in Gulgong last Sunday.
The incident comes only days after police rescued a distressed maltese terrier left without water in a car outside the Odeon 5 Cinema in Orange for up to 90 minutes last week while the owner watched a movie.
Odeon’s staff member, Alex Faulkner, said it was not an isolated incident.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened – it’s the first time this year,” Mr Faulkner said.
Orange faces a heatwave later this week with 38 degrees forecast for Saturday.
Canobolas Local Area Command Inspector Linda Bradbury said leaving a dog in a car in the heat was just as cruel as leaving children unattended.
“If there is an absolute need to have to bring your animal to town make sure they have access to water, shade and airflow.”
Inspector Bradbury said leaving animals for prolonged periods should be avoided.
“Weather conditions can change suddenly. Even if it’s overcast it can be very hot.”
Pet owners can face a fine of $5500 and spend six months in jail if a dog suffers in a car. If it dies, the fine can rise to $22,500 with two years’ jail.
NSW Farmers Orange Branch chair Bruce Reynolds said drivers carrying dogs should park in the shade and provide water.
“If you bring your dog into town carry a little bit of water for them and a bowl, and use them.”
Mr Reynolds said dogs sweated through their paws..
“Think about your dogs, they do need water,” Mr Reynolds said.
He said farmers should also provide shade and water for animals on their farm.
“All animals, whether it be horses, cattle or sheep, need water in hot conditions. Check that their water supply is adequate every day.”
According to the RSPCA, the temperature inside a car can reach higher than 50 degrees after only five minutes when the temperature outside is 32.5 degrees.
Signs a dog is suffering from heat stress can include panting, drooling and restlessness, which can worsen to weakness, changing gum colour, staggering, vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures.
If you see a dog in a hot car, call RSPCA NSW on 1300 278 3589 or police (6363 6399).