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Public should be within their rights to act whenever they see a distressed dog left alone in a hot vehicle

letter of the day: psni advice

Some years ago, while in England, I was reading a poster on what to do in the event of a cardiac arrest. One of the top pieces of advice in this life and death situation was to ring NHS Direct helpline, or look up the symptoms on their website for advice on what to do. Really?

That poster came to mind when I read your article, "PSNI: Don't smash windows if you spot a dog in distress" (News, May 9). If you see an animal in distress in a car, the PSNI suggests the first point of contact should be a local council's animal welfare officer.

Come on. I doubt there is any member of the public who could recite the number of their council off the top of their head, let alone hope to expect instant action in an emergency.

Neither is ringing 101 the answer. The very point of the 101 number is that it should be used in a non-emergency.

That leaves 999, which may, indeed, be the only resort. Even then, are you guaranteed an immediate response? If it takes police over four hours to attend a criminal damage incident at Cave Hill ("Charity worker's heartache as thugs trash her prized car", News, May 8), what chance has a suffocating animal?

The PSNI's advice that breaking a car window in an emergency is against the law needs further clarity. Is it against the law to break a car window if we see a small child in suffocating distress, or should we start ringing around like the PSNI suggests? Most of us wouldn't hesitate to act.

In the same way, if it were a choice between watching an animal suffocate in a roasting car while waiting for police, or a dog warden, to show up, or taking the initiative and breaking a window, what, in all conscience, would you do?

Such actions should be praised, not prosecuted, while the full weight of the law should fall on those who mindlessly perpetrate the cruelty.

hanging on the telephone

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