U.S. Army veteran Jason Minson was in Norfolk, Virginia, when he noticed a black Labrador mix puppy inside a car on a very warm spring day.
The windows on the car had been rolled down a bit, but as temperatures began to climb into the 80s, Minson observed that the dog was very uncomfortable.
Minson did not see anybody returning to the car, so he called 911 for help.
While waiting for authorities to arrive, Minson managed to give the thirsty puppy two full bottles of water, which the dog drank by sticking his snout out of the 1-inch opening in the window.
As he continued to wait, Minson became increasingly concerned that the dog, who was panting and distressed, was going to overheat and possibly die in the car.
“It’s cruelty leaving a living being in conditions that hot, it’s just cruel,” Minson told WTKR.
Minson felt that time was running short, and that if the dog was going to live, somebody needed to take action immediately.
He smashed out one of the car’s windows to free the pup, who was then taken into custody by the Norfolk Animal Care Center.
“I honestly didn’t think the dog would make it long enough for the fire department to get there,” Minson said.
Norfolk police told WTKR that they can and will break car windows to free a trapped animal inside, and they would have done so in this case had Minson not already taken the matter into his own hands.
“It’s hot out and if you leave an animal in your car it’s going to die from the heat,” Minson posted on Facebook. “In Virginia you will get charged with 2 felonies. If you do it and I see it you’re going to get your window busted out AND 2 felonies.”
“The officers in Norfolk were doing their jobs correctly and were trying to get the dog without causing property damage and were about to call the fire department for assistance, but I honestly didn’t think this pup was going to make it and my job wasn’t on the line because of policy.”
Minson, who has a service dog named Rex, has a message for dog owners, stating that having a dog comes with important responsibilities that cannot be overlooked.
“They depend on us to take care of them just like a child would,” he said. “If you’re going to be a dog owner, you have to step up to those responsibilities.”
Minson added that while he never plans to leave Rex in a situation like this, he hopes that if Rex were trapped in a vehicle, somebody would step in and find a way to free the dog.
The dog’s owner was issued a summons for “Animal in Motor Vehicle” and is expected to appear in court on May 17, WTKR reported, which will determine whether or not she will get her dog back.
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