Hi, Philip here. I just wanted to quickly piggyback on Cocopuff’s post of 22 Jan 13 entitled “What Would You Do?”.
I just recently went through this scenario with a Miniature Schnauzer who had been left in a car with the windows cracked about one inch on a 90 degree day. Noticing the dog and his plight, I pointed the situation out to a young woman who was just getting into her vehicle and conveyed my intentions of saving his life. He did not appear to be in any obvious distress yet and she kindly stayed on the scene while I went back to the store and apologetically interrupted a couple of transactions to apprise them of the situation. Had to raise a little hell at first to get assigned an appropriate priority but I quickly was able to return to the scene of the crime with the store manager following shortly afterward. When he took stock of the situation and I informed him that I would do whatever was necessary to keep this dog from dying he replied that he was not allowed to call the police in this sort of situation. The young lady who had stayed to assist told him that she had already done that herself and I requested that he simply make an announcement over their system to alert the culprit.
Although it was only several minutes, it seemed like an eternity in which I looked for alternatives to the unpleasant business of smashing out a window. Fortunately, there was a slight intermittent breeze and I was able to get enough of my hand into the vehicle to get an idea of how warm it actually was in there, all the while assessing the victim’s health. Finally, an older woman approached and I asked her if that was her dog in the car. I guess it was her intention to merely blow me off with the curt reply, “I was only in there for 10 minutes.”. At this point, all the pent-up adrenaline chose this moment to seek its way out and the conversation became very much more one-sided as I proceeded to explain to her the stupidity of her actions and the potential and actual ramifications of her ignorance and callousness. In the process, I let her know that the police had been called and the only reason that I hadn’t already smashed out a window is was that I was hoping that they would arrive in time to do it before I had to. I wasn’t abusive of her but I probably am guilty of humiliating her in front of what had become about a dozen onlookers and she was left with little doubt of my disgust for her poor treatment of that little dog. She drove off to my stern warning to never put her pet in that dangerous situation again.
After thanking the woman who had stayed with me, I went back to the store with the intention of both thanking the manager for his help and apologizing for the abruptness on my part that the situation had required as well as wait for the local constabulary so that I could tell them that the situation had been resolved. I don’t know if they ever did show up because after 20 more minutes or so they still hadn’t arrived. The takeaway here is that if you are dealing with a similar situation, keep in mind that there is a good likelihood that help will not show up in time to be of any use, if at all. You’re probably on your own. Knowing where your support is and isn’t can be crucial in decisions involving life and death situations.
The up side is that the Schnauzer survived his ordeal and at least one ignoramus will be too terrified of ever running into me again to leave her dog in a poorly ventilated vehicle. The less obvious benefit, which occurred to me when the store staff had thanked me for my intervention, is that by store owners and staff realizing that their customers care about animal abuse that occurs on their premises and will take steps to intervene, they are much more likely to become active tin preventing it, or at least responding to it when they become aware of it.