A PLEA has been issued to pet owners in Wrexham not to leave their animals locked in cars during this summer heatwave.

Wrexham town centre PC Thomas Hough took to social media to urge owners not to leave their pets in vehicles after officers were called to reports of what was described as a "dog in distress" yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman for North Wales Police confirmed a call was received to check on the vehicle in Chester Street, in the town centre yesterday (DEL - Wednesday) at around 1.15pm.

There were two dogs inside the vehicle and officers have informed the RSPCA about the incident. The temperature at the time would have been at least 24°C outside the car.

While the RSPCA can help prosecute owners, they do not have powers to force entry and are reliant on the public alerting the police.

Responding to PC Hough's tweet, Little Acton County Cllr Bill Baldwin said: "You wouldn’t sit in your car with windows up in this weather so why would you leave your beloved pet in a metal box?"

When approached by the Leader, a spokesman for RSPCA Cymru said the organisation had been inundated with calls in the last two weeks, with more than 50 over a three day period.

The animal welfare charity urges people to call police on 999 if they see a dog in such a dangerous situation; indicating that the number of incidents taking place is likely to be considerably higher in the current weather.

RSPCA superintendent Martyn Hubbard has issued the following advice.

He said: “Temperatures can rise rapidly inside cars, caravans and even conservatories.

“When it is 22°C outside, within an hour the temperature can reach 47°C inside a vehicle. This can cause heat stroke, and ultimately can have fatal consequences for dogs.

“All over Wales, temperatures have been soaring in recent days - and over the last 72 hours, we've seen 51 calls come into us.

“However, the RSPCA does not have powers of entry. Our advice remains that – in an emergency – people should dial 999 to report a dog in a hot car to the police.

“Our message is clear - 'not long is too long’. A warm vehicle can be a death trap for dogs - but sadly these latest call statistics highlight that too many people may be prepared to take this risk."

According to the RSPCA a dog’s normal body temperature is around 39°C. Although the upper lethal body temperature of dogs is approximately 42°C, brain damage may develop at body temperatures of 41°C.

Dogs are covered in fur and don’t sweat in the same way as humans do. Unlike humans, dogs pant to help keep themselves cool. The effectiveness of panting is reduced at high temperatures and in humid conditions.

For additional information about what to do if an individual is worried about a dog in a hot car or a dog displaying signs of heatstroke, see the RSPCA website.