By Brett Gillin
When an Ohio woman took a trip to Walmart over the weekend, she decided to take her dog along for the ride. Rather than be a responsible pet owner and leave her dog at home, or bring someone along to take care of the dog while she shopped, the woman left her dog alone in the unventilated car while she shopped. But when police officers found out that the dog was locked in the hot car in Strongsville Ohio, they decided to take some unorthodox actions.
Normally, when a police officer is called to a scene where an owner leaves a dog locked in a hot car, they have a couple courses of action. Traditionally, they can cite and fine the owner for animal abuse and they can call animal control to take care of the situation. But the officers in Strongsville decided to take actions that seem to insure that this will never happen again.
According to this article in The Daily Mail, the animal-loving police officer that arrived to the scene had a different idea for justice. Rather than write a ticket or call animal control, the officer decided to give the owner a taste of her own medicine: He told her that she had to sit inside her car, with the windows up, and the ignition off, just like she’d done to her poor dog.
Once the officer was sure that the woman had learned her lesson, the woman was let go, hopefully with a brand new appreciation for the importance of taking proper care of her dog. Thankfully, at least in the opinion of animal lovers all over the United States, this isn’t the first time that such an unconventional punishment has been doled out in cases like this one.
Last year, in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, police officers forced Shelly Nicholas to sit in her hot, unventilated car after reports came in that she’d left her dog inside in the 90 degree heat. According to this article and the accompanying body cam footage from KOB, the officer did it to prove a point.
Shelly Nicholas argued that it “wasn’t that hot” when she left her dog in her truck, so the officer decided that if it wasn’t too hot for the dog, then the woman should have no problem sitting in the car for a few minutes, with the windows rolled up, while they wrote her a ticket.
Nicholas claimed that she was only away from her car for ten minutes, and argued that the temperature couldn’t rise that much in such a short time. However, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, temperatures inside a car can rise as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit in that short of a time. Just ten minutes more can bring the temperature up 30 degrees or more, and even short periods of that type of heat can cause irreversible damage in dogs. After sitting in her unventilated car, Nicholas got a first-had taste of just how hot it can get.
The simple lesson to be learned is this: If you simply can’t be without your dog while you go and run errands, be sure to, at the very least, leave the windows down in your car. Or, better yet, let your four legged friend stay at home in the air conditioning while you shop. They’ll thank you for it later.