It's summer again and I hope all readers of my blog know not to leave a dog in a car when it's hot. Not ever, not only for a few minutes. When it is only 72 degrees outside, it can reach a temperature of over 100 degrees in a parked car, even in the shade, even with the windows open a crack, in less than half an hour. And 72 degrees doesn't even feel that hot out, does it?
A dog can have a heat stroke and die when the temperature gets a little over 100 degrees.
So you know better, but what do you do if you see a dog that's been left in a hot car?
Try to locate the owner and, as politely as you can, inform them it's too hot and it's not safe for their dog to be left in the car. I know, they may not like hearing they've done something wrong. I know, it's hard to be polite to someone who is endangering their dog. But try.
If I see a dog in a car in a parking lot at a big store like Walmart or a grocery store, I go to the customer service desk and ask them to please page the owner of the dog over the loud speaker. I say something like, "There is a dog in a car outside and it's much too hot for that. The dog is in danger. Can you please page the owner and ask them to attend to their dog so I don't have to call animal control?"
If the employee hesitates, I say something like, "If animal controls comes, they will give the owner a ticket and may even take their dog. I'm sure the owner would prefer the chance to take care of their dog themselves. But I'll call animal control if I have to." The employee usually agrees that the owner of the dog would prefer to avoid getting a ticket and having their dog taken by animal control and will page the owner.
If it's a small business, like a restaurant or pharmacy or library or something, you can just stand in the middle and yell something like, "Attention, please! Whoever left a dog outside in a red pickup truck, please come outside. Animal control is on the way because it's too hot to leave a dog in a car."
If you can't find the owner or the business won't page them or the owner won't take care of the dog, you can call animal control. Now, animal control won't always come out for a dog locked in a car. It depends on where you are. And they don't always come in a timely manner. I don't tell that to employees when I am trying to get them to page the owner of a dog, though. I try to sound like I feel certain animal control will come right out. And animal control might or might not give an owner a ticket. They certainly can do that, but they might not always choose to do it. But again, I don't tell that to employees. I try to sound like I am certain that is what will happen if I call animal control.
If you can't find the owner and can't get animal control to come, what should you do? Well, that's really up to you. I'm glad I've never been in that position. Whether or not to take someone's dog out of their car or break a window to get to a dog is a tough decision. Do it and you could be charged with property damage or theft. Plus, what if the dog is not friendly? It could bite you. But...don't do it and the dog might die. I can't advise you there.