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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hot Dogs and Big Box Stores

Our county has a Zero Tolerance policy against leaving animals in vehicles. It's also against the law in the entire state! Yet every summer we see news reports of some "Dumas" who leaves their dog in the car, and they are "shocked" when the dogs dies and they are arrested for Animal Cruelty.
Just the other day I got a call to the big W store. A dog in the car. It was still fairly early, around 10am, but the outside temperature was already 75 degrees. add 10 degrees that that means the inside of the vehicle is 85-90 and climbing. I wasn't close, within 15 minutes at the least. that's another 15 minutes for the temperature to climb. I did finally get there and met up with the sheriff who also got the call. He had just got done talking to my original call, but also pointed out a jeep that also had a dog in it that he just got a call on. The CP for that one was still on scene. I told the Deputy he could go ahead and 10-8 since I was there. I was talking to the CP who said that she confronted the jeep dog owner as he was going int he store and he blew her off. Told her he was going in the store for 10 minutes. That was five minutes ago. I checked out the dog in the jeep. He was a black lab sitting in the passenger seat. All the windows of the vehicle were rolled down. the dog appeared to be wet. I also saw there was a big bowl of water in the back and the dog wasn't panting or appearing to be in any distress. I stood there a few moments writing down the vehicle info when the owner came out. So apparently he had been in the store for only 10 minutes. Just as he showed up so did the parking lot security. I began to give him the "talk" about the dangers, the law, the fines...etc...I gave him the handouts. He was very cooperative and cordial with me. Apologetic that he was taking up my time. And that he was just returning from swimming his dog at the river and that he just didn't think that a few minutes in the store and his dog being wet would put his dog in danger.
I  was giving him the handouts regarding Hot Dog calls when I saw another vehicle that had just pulled into the space facing the jeep. A little white dog in the car. the female driver got out, slung her purse over her shoulder and clicked her car alarm/door locks. The little dog stood on the seat frantically clawing at the closed window as his owner was headed towards the store. I couldn't believe it. Really? right in front of me your going to leave your dog in the car? I got her attention and asked her to come back. already I could tell that she was  Miss Attitude. The huff and the eye roll.
I pointed at her car with her little fluffy white dog scratching at the window." Are you seriously going to leave your dog in the car right in front of me?"
She gives me this once over look and says " I'm just going in for a minute." There is that little head wagging attitude and another huff like I'm some sort of moron that should know she has important things to do. 
" Ok, you go in the store and I'll seize your dog, or you get back in your car and take your dog home, then you can come shop for as long as you want." 
Well she didn't like either of these options. She started to go off on me, I'm a "f-in' B" and that I have no right to tell her what to do.  Blah blah blah....As she was having her little tantrum I told Mr. jeep driver he could go ahead and go. Miss Attitude was still screaming at me as she got into her car and revved the engine. She said I was a nobody f-n-b and that she wasn't ever gonna shop at W store again! F! U! Slams her door and screeches out of the parking lot onto the main road.
The security guard was standing by patiently this whole time watching the scene. She commented that she wished that they could confront people like that, but they aren't allowed to. And now W store won't even make announcements over the intercom for them. They have to call the Sheriff or Us. I gave her handouts that she could post on vehicles as well. Then she tells me that there is a motor home on the other side of the store with Three dogs locked inside and none of the windows are open.
I think to myself I should just set up an office here. By now the outside temperature has climbed to about 90 degrees.
I follow her over to the motor home. Sure enough 3 little white dogs area sitting on the dashboard of this motor home barking at me like crazy. I walked all around the motor home and didn't see a single window open. The engine wasn't running and I pounded several time to see if anyone was inside. The dogs just barked. I got back in my truck and began to prepare the seizure paperwork when the elderly owner and her granddaughter ran up to the vehicle.
Is there a problem?
Yes, your dogs area locked in a enclosed vehicle.
But the air conditioner is on! She unlocked the door and entered inviting me inside. The interior of the motor home was a comfortable temperature and a small fan circulated the cool air from a rooftop air unit.
Ok. Then I went ahead and explained to her about animals locked in vehicles and that you cannot tell from the outside that there is an AC unit keeping the inside cool even with the vehicle motor off. I went ahead and gave her the handouts and let her off with a warning.
So four different vehicles in one parking lot at approximately the same time with dogs inside. And unfortunately it's not uncommon. I was told recently that one of the MALLS in our area has recently had a high number of shoppers leaving their dogs in cars and going inside the cool air conditioned mall to shop. One dog, a German Shep was recorded on security video trying desperately to get his head through the tiny space left in the window. A big hairy dog in a smallish vehicle, window only down a few inches in full sun on a triple digit day. What are people thinking? that's the problem. They Aren't!
There is NO REASON to take your dog to the store and leave it in the car. IF you cannot take your dog into where ever it is your going LEAVE IT HOME!!! I don't want to hear your lame excuse that your were only in the store for a minute. IF I get there and your still not in your vehicle leaving after the call had gone from the reporting person, to the operator, to the dispatcher, then to me, you have been in the store for more than 10 minutes. If I get there add on another 15 minutes for my travel time. That is 25 to 30 minutes that your dog has been in the car! So don't give me that old lame excuse "I was only in the store for 5-10 minutes."  I'm not the moron, you are.

Check out my blog where I show you in my own actual experiment on MYSELF in a hot vehicle.