I received an email today from the SPCA in Richmond, VA - my hometown. I have always supported the RSPCA because they do wonderful work. Robin Starr was able to revitalize the animal rights groups in Richmond and create a new space for the SPCA, a no-kill shelter, a place where pets are adopted out, receive medical treatment and pet parents are educated.
This year United Animal Nations, a national animal advocacy group started a campaign to inform the public about the dangers of keeping a dog in a car even for a few moments in the warm months (or even in spring or fall). A car is a death trap to a pet, even with the windows cracked. Try it yourself on a 70 degree day. See how long you last as the greenhouse effect starts and the car rises to 100 degrees in just a few minutes. Crack the window and see if it makes a difference. It doesn't.
From the UAN press release:
A Stanford University test found that when it is 72 degrees outside, a car’s internal temperature can rocket to 116 degrees within an hour, even with windows cracked. When it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car can soar to 102 degrees in 10 minutes and 120 degrees in 30 minutes. A dog can only withstand a high body temperature for a short time before suffering nerve damage, heart problems, liver damage, brain damage or even death.
So when Robin Starr and her husband miscommunicated last week and accidentally left their 16 year old dog in the back of Robin's car for 4 hours, his fate was unfortunately written in stone. He died later that night of kidney failure even after the Starr family tried every possible medical option at a local emergency vet in Carytown.
I know that clinic. They have great facilities and they care about their patients. I know the SPCA in Richmond, they do fantastic work for animals in and around the community. Their facilities are excellent and everyone there, Robin included, work for the betterment of the lives of our companion animals.
So the fact that the CEO of the Richmond SPCA accidentally killed her dog is an even greater tragedy than if it happened to J.Q. Public. It's a greater tragedy because she should have known better and I have no doubt that she cared greatly about Louie.
If it were me I would step down. Not because the critics call for it but because I failed. It's difficult enough to protect animals that are not our own but it is our obligation to protect those under our care. There are other avenues that Robin Starr can take to help the animals in Richmond. She doesn't need the title of CEO to make a real difference. All she had to do was check the back of her car every morning to make a difference to Louie.
I don't say this to be hurtful but if we can't protect those who are closest to us, how are we to protect the rest?