The consequences of rescuing a dog

Last week, a Georgia man named Michael Hammons spotted a Yorkie-type dog inside a hot car parked at a Athens, Georgia shopping mall.  He broke the window to rescue the dog.

When the dog’s owner returned, she was angry that he had damaged her vehicle and insisted that police charge him.  His and the dog’s story have gone viral in what I consider a welcome debate about animal welfare and the rights of individuals who step in to intervene.

It seems that Georgia isn’t one of the 16 US states that prohibits leaving animals in cars in unsafe conditions.   Advocates are now using this latest situation as evidence as to why the law needs changing.

Last year, I saw a couple leave their dog parked in the full sun at a local shopping mall with a large breed Lab cross in the back seat.  I phoned the police on 111 (New Zealand’s version of 911) and then waited by the car until they arrived.   I monitored the dog closely to see if he was showing signs of heat stress.

The police, followed by the SPCA, responded to my call quite quickly and the policeman took my details should I be needed as a witness.  And then he encouraged me to leave the scene since they would take care of the situation and wait for the people to come back to speak with them.

Have you ever helped rescue a dog from a hot car?  How were you treated?

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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2 responses to “The consequences of rescuing a dog

  1. got told to close all my car windows inspite of the fact I had my dog in it and safe screens on back windows,was told I was creating a safety risk to my car.This was a security person at a shopping centre.

  2. On several occasions, I have ended up sitting in a parking lot, under whatever shade is available holding a leash. The leash is attached to a dog whose family were going to leave that dog in a parked car in the sun.

    I would approach people quietly and ask them if they knew how long it took for the temperature to rise to unsafe levels. They often got angry with me, saying that they did not know what else to do. I offer to watch their pet. The person usually lets me, although they are usually also curt and angry. By the time they come out of the store, they are calm. Rarely do they thank me but since they are no longer angry, at least I can feel fairly sure they won’t be taking out anger on the dog.

    I just hope that my behavior makes them think twice about doing it again.

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