People who leave dogs in hot cars should be fined, an RSPCA investigator has said, as temperatures are set to soar to over 30C in some parts of the UK.
Anthony Joynes suggested on Twitter that fixed penalty notices could deter people from doing “the same again and again”.
Currently, owners can face a prison sentence of up to six months or a maximum fine of £20,000 if a dog becomes ill or dies after being left unattended car on a hot day.
But even if they do not die or become ill being left inside a hot car can be an incredibly stressful experience for a dog.
The inside temperature of a car with its windows slightly cracked can quickly become double that of the outside temperature, making it extremely uncomfortable for even a human to remain in for long.
Joynes, who has been an RSPCA inspector for 13 years, said: “I would love to see fixed penalty notices for leaving dogs in cars on warm/hot days.
“Not for incidents when dogs have died obviously but the ones where dogs have been left in a vehicle in a dangerous situation.
“Most owners come back & dogs are hot but will be ok & they leave often I imagine to do the same again and again.
“A fixed penalty notice in these circumstances, a short sharp shock in the pocket, might actually make these people think.
“Obviously it should be the welfare of their pup that gets the grey matter working but fines would work.”
The temperature is expected to hit 34C in London on Friday, with most of the rest of England expected to see the high 20s.
What should you do if you see a dog in distress in a hot car?
The first thing you should do is check to see the dog's condition, if it is visibly ill call 999 immediately.
The police have the power to break into a car and rescue a dog in a dangerous situation.
However, if you decide to break into the car then you could be classed as criminal damage.
According to the RSPCA, legally, you can commit damage if you believe the car owner would consent to it if they knew the dog was in danger.
If the police haven't arrived and you think the dog is in imminent danger the RSPCA suggests you "tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take photos or videos of the dog. Are there any other witnesses? Take their names and telephone numbers."
The RSPCA also said they have no powers of entry so if you do see a dog in this situation you should got straight to the police.