No, I’m not talking about the common ballpark food, I’m talking about dogs left in cars, a recent phenomena which seems to have risen in epic numbers judging from social media reports. This latest story however, proves I can no longer be silent about this terrible trend. WHAT THE &#@% IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE???????
Sheesh, it’s bad enough when I see people taking dogs with them out to dinner in my neighborhood only to (a) leave the dog tied up to a parking meter or worse, (b) leave the dog in the car while they nosh and yuck it up over drinks and a meal in one of the many trendy restaurants in our ‘hood with their equally clueless friends…their poor pet languishing on hot sidewalks at the mercy of strollers rolling over paws and tails or getting tangled up with people walking the area. Not to mention those dogs who act aggressively toward their manacled brethren (or vice versa) or the ones suffering alone in a car that is anywhere from 20-40 degrees hotter than the outside ambient temperature with no water or ability to control the heat. This is animal cruelty people, plain and simple!
Then there are those who just can’t seem to help themselves by taking Fido shopping with them. I mean who in their right mind takes a dog shopping??? I love Sam dearly and want him with me whenever possible, but I have the good sense to leave him at home when I go shopping. It seems ridiculous to take him to the grocery store, yet I can’t tell you how many times I’ll dash off for some milk and see dogs sitting on the back riser baking in the sun or hanging their heads out of a partially cracked window desperately seeking relief. Which prompts a terse visit with the store manager for an announcement over the PA for the owner to come forward. I’ve left notes on windshields using not so lady-like language to those cretins and been seconds from calling the police when the idiot owner arrives and gives me the what-for about minding my own business. Talk about doubling down on bad behavior. Yikes!
Is it that people just don’t realize the consequences and exactly how hot it gets in a parked car? On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can easily reach 100-120 degrees in mere minutes. On a 90-degree day, it can reach 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes! Dogs do not have the ability to cool themselves down as easily as us uprights and once overheated, can suffer organ damage, heatstroke, even death in as little as 15 minutes.
So the next time you’re out and about, please leave your pup at home. It’s more than a bad idea, it’s cruel and can be a chargeable offense. You might as well just put your pooch in a hot oven and bake cookies. It’s better to leave them at home when you have shopping and errands to run, unless you can always bring him inside with you.
What if you see a dog in a locked car and cannot find the owner? The ASPCA recommends calling animal control or 911. Maybe a few more broken windows will wake people up. I know it seems ridiculous to have to say this, but spread the word and sign the Hot Car Pledge. Surely the only reason people that do this is because just don’t realize the dangers associated with leaving dogs in cars. And if your municipality doesn’t have laws prohibiting pets from being left unattended in parked cars, start lobbying for one.
Whew, I know I got really worked up over this issue, but when I see it happen or read yet another story about it, it’s hard for me not to get worked up about it. Okay, now I’ll climb off my soapbox and enjoy a nice hot dog (but a vegetarian version :)) that is the quintessential summertime food and try to stay cool during the Dog Days of August. Just don’t get me started about runners with dogs on hot pavement!