NADLER: DO SOMETHING!
On Monday afternoon, I jumped out of my car in a Meadowlands parking lot to a bone-chilling sound. A dog barking. It was 29 degrees and the dog park was too far away for it to be coming from there, I thought. This pooch must be nearby.
I scanned the cars in the lot to see a little white fluffball sticking its head out of the cracked window of a dark SUV. The owner, obviously, wasn’t around.
I should mention, at this point, that I was parked in front of a shop people generally spend some time in, not a service. Someone left her (yes, it was a her) dog to die in a roasting car while she went shopping, not running in and out of, say, a postal outlet or take-away sandwich shop. Not that either of those are any better, but you know when the car is parked in front of a postal outlet, the owner might be back in a minute or two.
What was even more disturbing than listening to the sounds of a desperate dog trying to claw itself out of a roasting car was the fact that at least four other people walked by this car and didn’t bat an eyelash. It didn’t seem to disturb them one bit.
Earlier this summer when the days started to get hot, I told myself that if and when (it’s always when) I saw a dog stuck in a hot car, I would just call the police. No more negotiating with irate dog owners too stubborn/arrogant/ misinformed to know better than to leave a dog in a car when it’s roasting outside. No more arguments with store managers who feel it’s none of their business if a dog dies in a car in the parking lot of their shop. This year I would just call the police and let the owners and store managers deal with them.
But I thought maybe the owner was at the front of the store or near the cash and getting her would be quicker. Furious and incredibly upset, I marched inside with a photo of the licence plate and told the first cashier that they should make an announcement for the owner of that car to return to it or I would phone the police in three minutes and let them deal with the aftermath.
He did. He immediately alerted the manager, who immediately made an announcement over the PA system and then waited for the guilty party to present herself to the cash.
I saw her walk through the store, playing with her keys, probably debating whether she should just head back to her car, stay in the shop, face the music. She slowly, sheepishly walked back to her car and then sat in it for a few minutes.
I waited and watched as they pulled away because I’m that psychopath who will do stuff like that — watch them leave. And I hope you will be, too. Like I said, at least four other people walked past that car and thought nothing of it.
The Hamilton Burlington SPCA website reports that:
“Parked cars can quickly reach deadly temperatures, even on relatively mild days with the car parked in the shade and the windows slightly open.
“Dogs have a limited ability to sweat; even a short time in a hot environment can be life-threatening. A dog’s normal body temperature is about 39 C, a temperature of 41 can be withstood only for a very short time before irreparable brain damage or even death can occur.
“Owners who choose to leave pets unattended in vehicles may face charges under the Ontario SPCA Act or the Criminal Code of Canada.”
I wrote about this issue last summer, as well. I harp about it to anyone who will listen. But until leaving a dog in a hot car becomes as appalling to people as leaving your baby in a hot car, I think it deserves some attention.
And if you see a dog in a hot car, for God’s sake, do something about it.
Until leaving a dog in a hot car becomes as appalling to people as leaving your baby in a hot car, I think it deserves some attention.