NOW that summer is here, we would ask your readers to remember that animals suffer and die in hot weather. Already, Animal Aid has had to call the police to smash the window of a car and release a dog which was sweltering inside.

Other animals suffer, too.

Rabbits should not be left in a hutch in the glaring sun or inside a sweltering garage or shed.

They need a cool, shady place where the air circulates, and to be able to move freely. In summer, their water should be refreshed twice a day. A hot rabbit can be kept cool by applying cold water gently to its ears. Should your rabbit become listless, or start breathing hard through an open mouth or go limp, get him to a vet immediately. Rabbits must also be checked daily throughout summer months for signs of flystrike.

Smaller animals, such as hamsters, rats and gerbils, can be kept cool by opening windows and closing curtains, using a fan (but not pointing it directly at them), refreshing water and providing a frozen water bottle, wrapped in a towel so that it cannot be chewed.

Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns, Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent.