Passers-by and a police officer came to the rescue of a puppy that was left in a van on a hot day in New South Wales, Australia. The van was parked in a public car park in Coffs Harbour which is located on the Central Coast. The van was left in the car park with the dog in the front. The sun was beating down on the van and the puppy did not have any shade. There was also no sign that the owner had left any water for the dog to drink and he also did not have any food. The Daily Mail reported that the puppy was first spotted around midday, which is the hottest time of the day. It has been widely reported that the temperatures in Australia this year have been higher than ever and this would have made the situation even worse.
The puppy was a Fox Terrier and the concerned passers-by could tell that he was not very old. After half an hour they were able to call over a police officer, but they were unsure how long the pup had been in the van before that. He was panting heavily and had also started whimpering. It was fairly obvious that he was in a great deal of distress and needed to be taken out of the van as soon as possible. The officer made the decision to break the window of the van and get the dog out safely. No one had any idea where the owner was or how long they would be and the officer felt that they couldn’t risk waiting any longer. When the puppy was out of the van the officer took it into a nearby shop that had air conditioning. He was also given plenty of water. He appeared to be doing well but the police wanted to speak to the owner of the van.
It was another forty-five minutes before the owner turned up. When he was questioned about the puppy he told the police that he had forgotten he was in the van. If the puppy had not already been rescued by the time the owner returned, then it is very likely that he would not have survived. The excuse about not remembering that he had his dog with him was not one that seemed all that believable to the police. The puppy was handed over to the RSPCA by the police who did not believe that he would be safe if left with his owner. Whether he had really forgotten about the dog or not, the puppy had still been neglected and the outcome could have been very different. If the police were not notified that the dog was in the van, then there was every chance that the situation would have been fatal for the puppy. Anyone following the story does not really want to think about what might have happened if the dog had not been spotted.
The RSPCA took this opportunity to remind people about the dangers of leaving dogs in cars on hot days. A car or van can become too hot for a dog even if it is parked under some shade and if the windows are left open. The Spruce Pets explains this is because the temperature inside a vehicle can rise very quickly which means the dog is at risk of suffering from heatstroke. Panting heavily is one of the most common indicators of heatstroke in dogs and it could be clearly seen that this is what the puppy was doing. If dogs are unable to bring their temperature down by panting then they will eventually collapse and their organs can start to fail. When they are inside a car, they will just keep on getting hotter which is why leaving them alone is so dangerous.
The owner of the puppy was fined by the police, although the exact amount has not been revealed. However, the maximum financial penalty for leaving a dog unattended in a vehicle is $5,500. A prison sentence of up to six months could also be handed down. The fine and the sentence would be increased if being left in a vehicle causes the death of the dog. The puppy will be kept by the RSPCA until he is well enough to be put up for adoption. His age is not known for certain but he appears to be about four months old. People who have been following the story hope that his new owners will treat him a lot better than the one who left him in a van on a hot day. They hope that the puppy will have a happy new life in his forever home with a family that loves him and would never forget about him while he is in a potentially dangerous situation.
The story was posted on Facebook by the NSW Police and this led to a lot of criticism of the owner from those that were commentating on the story. There was also a lot of disbelief in the comments that this sort of thing keeps happening, despite widespread warnings of the dangers of dogs being left in vehicles on a hot day. The RSPCA advise that if you come across a dog in a hot car and that the owner does not seem to be around, then you should contact the police immediately. If the car is parked in the parking lot of a store, then you should go inside and ask them to make an announcement over the PA system to locate the owner. Most stores would be more than happy to do this. If you are getting increasingly worried about the dog and the police have not arrived or the owner has not been found, then you may be tempted to break the window yourself. You need to be aware that this could be considered criminal damage and may leave you open to prosecution. Always inform the police that you are going to take this action and get the names of any witnesses who will be able to provide information about the severity of the situation.