On-demand kennel company says pet pods safe in heat as BC SPCA shares its doubts

The BC SPCA is raising concerns about on-demand kennels found outside some B.C. businesses. But as Lauren Stallone reports, the head of PetParker Canada argues that its shelters are safe.

As temperatures rise, the BC SPCA is raising concerns about on-demand kennels found outside some B.C. businesses, but PetParker argues that its shelters are safe.

The society claims PetParker ‘pods’ — dog house-shaped kennels that can be opened and with a free app — are not safe to store animals in high temperatures. However, the brand says its product is prepared to protect animals ahead of a heatwave set to blanket much of the province.

Eileen Drever, BC SPCA’s senior officer for protection and stakeholder relations, tells CityNews that leaving pets in a confined space is never a good idea.

“Especially in this heat. Especially the brachycephalic breeds — those are the breeds with the short noses, short snouts — they have difficulty breathing anyway. So I can’t imagine not having good airflow. They don’t sweat, and it can cause them distress. [Whether] in a car in any enclosed space, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” said Drever.

As temperatures climb, Drever says the best option is to leave pets in a cool home.

“I would rather see animals left at home where they’re safe and secure, rather than take them out in this hot weather where the sidewalks are extremely hot.”

But PetParker Canada CEO and founder Adi Kabazo says the business provides a service that’s safe and accessible when options are limited. Responding to a Reddit post that showed a Vancouver PetParker pod sitting in direct sunlight, Kabazo says the company has precautions in place to prevent overheating.

“Even before a session is started, we control the speed of the ventilation and, with remote monitoring, we can engage the pet owner if it needs their attention,” said Kabazo.

He says the owner can monitor the service remotely, with access to a camera and a temperature reading on the app.

Kabazo adds the company doesn’t allow the use of certain kennels when they’re exposed to sunlight the way the Cambie Street Save-On Foods pod, identified in the Reddit post, is for parts of the day.

“The pet safety stations are west-facing, which means that if we don’t get the shade, there are a couple of hours where the temperature does rise, and then we’re preventing the use essentially,” he explained.

“So that’s the way we handle it is we don’t allow the use when the temperature is too high.”

Drever and Kabazo both confirmed that the BC SPCA and PetParker had worked together last year.

According to Drever, PetParker approached the BCSPCA with a proposal to enter a marketing partnership, but the society made the decision not to continue unless feedback about cleaning and sizing from its animal welfare specialists was implemented.

—With files from David Nadalini.

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