Man's inhumanity to pets is so baffling. One such instance is how people continue to leave their animals (usually dogs) inside their vehicles when they go off to do their shopping or whatever else it is they are doing.
The sweltering heat of summer turns our cars into ovens, cooking whatever is inside at temperatures pushing past 140 degrees in a matter of minutes. So, is it ignorance? Lack of compassion? Is it that these people just don't understand that animal needs are basically the same as ours?
It happen everywhere, and all the time. Just yesterday, there was a report from West Warwick, Rhode Island of a tiny seven pound dog that died when left in a hot car.
"It was left in a car as a person was shopping at a Walmart. And when the owner came out, I believe he found his dog dead, or in dire straits, and proceeded to bring the dog to a veterinarian, and at that time, the dog was dead upon arrival," said Dr. E.J. Finocchio, president of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
In another case in West Warwick, Gretchen Keefe, along with other concerned bystanders, took aggressive action. When she saw a pit bull was left in a dark-colored Ford Explorer with two windows only slightly cracked, she decided to act after calling the police who hadn't arrived in a timely manner.
"After 20 minutes we were frustrated. The police hadn't shown up, and neither had the owner. Then somebody suggested seeing if the car was unlocked. So, I walked over to the car, to the front door, and it was unlocked. The dog's collar and the leash were right there in the middle (of the car)."
Keefe said the pit bull was in an agitated state, hot and barking.
The incident makes for an interesting legal debate, as the police later told her that she risked being charged with breaking into the car. So the question is this: when does breaking into a car (maybe even breaking the window) turn from a crime into preventing one (animal cruelty)?
The time to ponder that question is short. Dr. Finocchio demonstrated this fact through a simple experiment.
"We parked a dark colored car in the parking lot and rolled the windows down for an hour. Then we rolled the windows up and placed a thermometer in the vehicle. Exactly 20 minutes later we checked the thermometer in the car, and it registered at 145 degrees, and that's only after 20 minutes," said Finocchio.
If you see a dog in a car with the windows rolled up, use your own judgement on how to act. Just realize that the animal may only have minutes before they succumb to heatstroke or suffocate.