KITCHENER -- The week so far has been a hot one, reminiscent of a summer heat wave but a couple of months early.

With two days in May where temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius--and temperatures reaching 29.9 C on Wednesday--it's already been hotter than last year: according to Environment Canada meteorologist David Phillips, we didn't see temperatures over 30 C until July in 2019.

Every year come the summer, officials remind pet owners not to leave their animals in the car in such temperatures. Dogs especially have a hard time sweating and can quickly overheat.

While the government-issued heat warning has ended in Waterloo Region, we're not in the clear yet when it comes to our pets.

Temperatures on Friday are expected to climb to 25 C with a humidex of 30, meaning the dangers to pets persist.

Ontario Provincial Police in Norfolk County are reminding people that mistreatment of an animal is a criminal offence, which can be punished with jail time.

"The Criminal Code of Canada has specific sections that deal with the mistreatment of animals," a news release from the OPP reads.

Maximum sentences are for the following:

  • Five years in jail: cause unnecessary suffering
  • Five years in jail: injure or endanger an animal
  • Two years in jail: neglect an animal

Norfolk County also has a by-law that prohibits people from leaving an animal unattended in a car. Anyone who does can face a $490 fine.

In Kitchener, there is also a by-law that stops anyone from confining a dog in a vehicle at an unsafe temperature.

Anyone who is found guilty of violating a responsible dog ownership by-law is liable to be fined not in excess of $5,000.

If you see a pet left in a vehicle on a hot day, you can call police or your local humane society.