Wanganui SPCA staff rescued a dog which they say was having a fit and near death due to being trapped in a hot vehicle.

The case was one of several sparked by the recent hot weather. Staff say they have been horrified at the number of people leaving dogs locked in cars or chained on the back of utes while they do their shopping, go out to lunch or socialise.

SPCA worker Toni Ericsson said yesterday there had more than 10 callouts in the last five days with staff from local businesses and members of the public phoning in distressed at dogs locked in hot cars.

"They're locked in cars with just a tiny slit of window left open and there are dogs left chained on the trays of utes with no shade and no water ... it's so cruel.


"One dog was so overheated it was fitting and would have died fairly soon if we hadn't got there."

SPCA staff talked to the owner but are concerned the dog hadn't been taken to the vet yet which could mean a prosecution.

Ms Ericsson said when they went to a call they waited as long as possible for the owner to come back. In extreme cases an SPCA inspector was legally entitled to break into a vehicle to free the animal.

"The owners just aren't thinking. When the weather is so hot, you're not doing your dog any favours taking it out for a ride. Leave the dog at home where there's shade and water."

Some people who'd left their dogs while they popped in for a quick drink with friends or even lunch just hadn't thought about the welfare of their dogs, she said.