As I was existing a superstore, I noted that at least three dogs (actually four) were locked in the SUV next to my vehicle, with the windows partially open. I felt one of their noses through the opening in the window, and it was extremely hot. I began to give it and another dog water, from an empty coffee cup, into which I poured all of the contents of a bottle of water I keep in my laptop backpack. Two of the dogs drained the entire 20oz bottle of water I had, in less than a minute. I did not observe any water bowls left for the dogs.
As you’ll see in the video I shot, one of the dogs was huddled on the passenger floorboard. It seemed to want some of the water I was giving the other dogs, but was either too weak or disoriented to climb up to be able to reach the cup I was using.
I then called the police, and went back into the store with the vehicle’s license plate number, and had the manager page the owner. I then asked the manager to come out with me into the parking lot so he could observe the situation, and see if there was anything more he could do. He, too, felt one of the dogs’ snouts, and agreed it was very hot.
About ten minutes from the time I called, the police showed up, and a few seconds later, the owner of the vehicle arrived.
The owner was very angry, and openly admitted that the dogs had been in his SUV for at least 30 minutes, but that they were “fine.”
I told the police officers, who were seated in their cruiser – and never emerged to check on the dogs – that the science shows the interior temperature of the SUV was at or above 100 degrees, and had been for some time, which meant these dogs were at risk of heatstroke.
The owner then angrily said to me, “Mind your own business!” I responded by (somewhat angrily) explaining that as I created HeatKills.org, and have done a massive amount of research on this issue, acting on behalf of dogs such as his, who are left it hot cars, this actually is my business. In response, the police officer in the driver’s seat told me, “Hey! Don’t go there, ease off…” or something very similar.
The officers then told me that the dogs are fine, to not worry about it. Even though they never left their cruiser. At that point, I left the scene – but realized that this incident perfectly dovetailed with what the noted veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward told me in an interview, in which he asserted that many “authorities” are largely or completely unaware of the heatstroke danger to dogs.
A few hours later, I filed a complaint with a senior officer in the police department, who began an investigation.