Dog left in hot car ‘minutes away from death’

Published on 9 September 2022

The case of Ilker Ekici was finalised on Tuesday in the Online Magistrates’ Court sitting at Melbourne. Ekici was prosecuted for leaving his Pugalier dog Lucky in his car on a day due to be over 28 degrees. Mr Ekici was convicted and fined $1,100, with costs of $5,511.68 also ordered.

In December 2020, City of Melbourne Local Laws and Animal Management received a phone call from Melbourne West Police in relation to a dog that had been left unattended inside a parked vehicle in North Melbourne. The dog was panting and appeared to be in respiratory distress.

Temperatures recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology at the two closest weather stations to the vehicle at that time were 34.5 and 32.3 degrees Celsius respectively. A veterinarian was called to assess the dog and determined he was suffering from potentially life-threatening heat stroke and was minutes away from dying if left in the vehicle.

Given the immediate welfare risk, and after several unsuccessful attempts to contact the owner, entry was gained to the vehicle and Lucky was seized under Section 24U of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act Vic 1986.
Lucky received veterinary treatment at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit for 12 hours after removal from the car – his temperature was extremely high at 41.8 degrees and his gums were cyanotic showing his blood was oxygen deficient.

The initial report was made at 1:20pm, a calling card was left on the car of the accused at 2:45pm and the owner contacted the City of Melbourne Local Laws and Animal Management Manager at 4:30pm. Lucky’s owner had knowingly left him locked in a car for an extended period of time on a hot day.

RSPCA Victoria Chief Inspector Michael Stagg said the temperature can increase rapidly inside cars and it’s never ok to leave a dog unattended in a car, even on days where the forecast is mild.
“Even on a 23-degree day, the inside of a car can reach over 40 degrees and pets can die an agonising death in less than six minutes.

“Never leave your dog in a vehicle – even when the windows are down – dogs can still overheat and die. They are particularly at risk of overheating as they pant to cool down, which also adds to the rising temperature in a vehicle.

“An animal left in a car or on the back of a ute can suffer extreme stress, organ failure and seizures. In many cases, even if the animal is still alive when found, the damage can be too extensive to be revived and recover.”

Anyone who has concerns for the welfare of an animal is encouraged to contact RSPCA Victoria on 9224 2222 or at All concerns relating to animals in hot cars should be directed to Victoria Police on triple zero.

It can take less than six minutes for an animal to die in a hot car, ute or truck

  • Do not leave your dog in a vehicle – even when the windows are down dogs can still overheat and die.
  • One study found that even on mild days the temperature inside the vehicle rises rapidly to dangerous levels
  • When the ambient temperature is 22°C the temperature inside a car can rise to over 47°C in 60 minutes.
  • The high temperatures in the car combined with inadequate ventilation/air flow mean that a dog cannot thermo-regulate leaving them vulnerable to over-heating which can be fatal.
  • Veterinary help should be sought as soon as possible if heat stroke is suspected. Heat stress is an emergency. Given the seriousness of this condition, heatstroke is an emergency.
  • Initial emergency treatment at home should aim to normalise body temperature. Apply or spray tepid/cool water onto the animal’s fur/skin followed by fanning of the wet fur. Don’t use ice-cold water or
    ice as this may exacerbate the problem
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