Barry L. Adams has made it a mission to educate dog owners about the dangers of hot cars. For more information and resources, visit www.mydogiscool.com.
Originally published in The Commons issue #156 (Wednesday, June 13, 2012).
“Together, we can build communities where animal cruelty is unacceptable.”
– Nicole Forsyth, president and CEO of RedRover
I recently read where a man fried an egg in a skillet placed on his dashboard on a hot day. Within 90 minutes, the egg was completely cooked, and an accompanying photo showed that it even had crispy brown edges.
That article and image made me recall how many times I burned the backs of my bare legs when I was a child after jumping onto hot vinyl car seats and how, even on a sunny day in the freezing cold of winter, the interior of a car can be very warm and comfortable.
Those memories make a recent incident of failure to rescue two dogs locked inside a hot vehicle in an open parking lot even more disturbing.
More accurately, this was a case of refusal to rescue.
Several weeks ago, some friends and I spent a leisurely hour at a local flea market. We returned to our car around 2:30 p.m. to escape the worst of the afternoon sun’s heat and humidity.
As we approached our car, we heard barking and saw two dogs in the black truck parked next to us panting heavily and trying to push their snouts through the windows, which were cracked open about five inches. Looking inside the truck, we also noticed they had no drinking water available.
Knowing that the interior of a car can reach 116 degrees within an hour when the outside temperature is only a mild 72, or 120 degrees in 10 minutes on an 85-degree day, I knew these dogs were in real danger.
Additionally, leaving windows cracked does not help prevent harm or suffering to a dog left inside.
My friends stayed with the truck while I sought assistance. I approached the parking attendant, who was standing about 30 feet away directing more cars into the open field.
I pointed to the truck and told him there were two dogs inside that were panting heavily.
“I know. I’m not getting involved,” he said.
Shocked by such a pointed reply, given the circumstances, I told him the dogs were in serious danger.
“I’m not getting involved,” he repeated.
Totally amazed and disbelieving, I asked him why.
“This is private property, and that truck is someone’s private property,” he reasoned.
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