Although we'd all like to think we'd help a distressed animal in danger, a social experiment revealed hundreds of people would ignore dogs trapped in hot cars.
A video experiment, filmed on a scorching hot day, saw just four people stop and try and help a fake dog left abandoned in a vehicle.
Car savings site confused.com conducted the social experiment to examine how members of the public reacts to a dog left in a vehicle on a warm day, The Mirror reported.
Fake dog Annie was left abandoned in temperatures up to 30C with realistic sound-effects which meant passers-by could hear distressed barks and cries, while a camera set up camp in car parks and on streets.
But in one positive moment, the film crew had to stop a concerned member of the public who was moments away from calling the RSPCA out of concern for the trapped dog.
RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Richards said: "If you spot a dog shut in a car on a warm day that’s showing any signs of heatstroke, you should call 999 straight away.
"It doesn’t even need to be a sunny day for the temperature inside a car to reach dangerous levels for a dog.
"Dogs are especially vulnerable to heatstroke because they cool off by panting and when their body temperature is raised to dangerous levels, even for a short time, they can suffer nerve, heart, liver and brain damage or even death.”
Further research by Confused.com supported the findings of the experiment revealing – of drivers who have witnessed a dog left in a car – three out of four (76%) did not intervene.
Only a small number (2%) took the right course of action.
A further few (2%) decided to call the RSPCA, while almost one in 20 (4%) alerted the closest store to the parked car.
Some (2%) attempted to break in to the car.
More than two fifths (42%) of drivers have left their dog unattended in a car – and shockingly, a quarter (25%) of these admit to doing so on a warm or hot day.
Motoring editor Amanda Stretton said: “As a dog owner, the results of the experiment really did come as a surprise: we expected far more people to try to intervene and help Annie the dog.
“Aside from the risk to your pet, there’s also a risk that concerned passers by will cause damage to your car to gain access. If you claim for this damage from your insurer, it could ultimately affect your car insurance premiums.”
The RSPCA advises anyone who witnesses an unattended dog in a hot car to call 999 and report the incident.
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