Pet Patrol Keeps an Eye Out for Pets in Hot Cars

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dog in car2The Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, a sprawling shopping mall in Ontario, is finally doing something about dogs in hot cars.

After a successful pilot last summer, Vaughan Mills established their Pet Patrol program. Active during extreme weather days, Pet Patrol officers are positioned in pairs at each main entrance to the mall.

A total of ten officers stop drivers on their way into the mall, find out if they have any pets in the vehicle, and educate them on the dangers of leaving any animals in the car.

The Pet Patrol initiative came about after the death of a dog in the mall parking lot last June. Despite their efforts to save the dog, by splashing water onto him through a crack in the car’s window, the dog lost consciousness and died at the scene.

“When that incident occurred … it pushed us to be more proactive to address this issue, to have more additional eyes on the lots for these potential situations,” Stephen Gascoine, general manager of the shopping mall, told The Toronto Star.

In addition to stopping shoppers on their way into the parking lot, several more mall security staff continually monitor parked cars, paying close attention to vehicles with animals inside.

If they feel an animal is in danger or distress, they immediately contact animal control or police.

“Maybe moving forward they won’t bring their pet with them in case they had to leave them for a long period of time in the car,” Gascoine said.

Kudos to Vaughan Mills for an incredible initiative – let’s just hope other malls follow suit!


  1. Every mall has security vehicles that patrol the lots looking for illegal parkers. They should just automatically look around at cars and be aware of what’s going on with animals in cars and heaven forbid, children!! I myself always look at cars in the aisles that I drive up and down in while looking for a parking spot. Just last night, we were at a building supply store and I heard a dog barking, sounding very close. I had to go and see if I could spot the dog. It was 89 degrees, but the car was parked under a shade tree with the windows down at least 6 inches all around. They were in the pickup zone and the dog seemed fine.