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Florida Police Smash Car Window to Deliver Pup from 115-Degree Heat

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It’s getting to that time of year when the stories start rolling in about children and pets being left unattended in hot cars.

Some companies have developed technology to help parents and owners better care for their charges, including apps and built-in features to alert parents to the presence of a child in a back seat and options to keep cars running and air-conditioned for pets.

But whether through system failure or user error, even these measures aren’t always foolproof.

Recently, someone in Sarasota, Florida, discovered a pit bull locked inside a black sedan in the parking lot at University Parkway, according to WFLA-TV. The owner of the dog allegedly claimed he’d left the car running, but by the time police arrived, that was not the case.

The car was off, the sun was shining and the dog was clearly stressing inside the vehicle. When police arrived to check out the situation, an officer immediately noted the dog’s concerning condition.

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“The dog is panting and drooling all over the place,” he said.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services also responded, and together the police and animal services were able to extricate the dog.

“[H]e’s starting to go down, yeah, that’s not good,” a woman with animal services said after a quick glance. “He’s starting to go down.”

They couldn’t find the car’s owner, so officers decided to break a back window farthest from where the dog was positioned to at least give the dog some airflow.

Shortly after, animal services was able to secure the dog with a catch pole and direct it to the safety of a crate in the animal services van. One of the officers remarked the dog appeared to be bleeding, perhaps from the broken glass, but a cut was certainly a small price to pay for not cooking alive in the hot car.

And the car was very hot — animal services read the internal temperature, with the door already open, as being 115 degrees. She said it depended on where you aimed the reader, but that was certainly too hot for man or beast to survive for long.

The Sarasota Police Department shared the bodycam footage and a plea to residents not to leave their pets unattended as the weather warms up.

“PLEASE DON’T LEAVE PETS IN HOT CARS,” the department wrote. “This week we responded to University Parkway for a dog locked inside a car that was turned off. We broke out a back window to rescue the playful pooch.

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“Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Animal Services told us it was 115° inside the car! The owner said he left the car running.

“He was issued two citations by Animal Services. Always remember to look before you lock for pets, children and elderly loved ones.”

Some people in the comments also mentioned that there are newer cars that will automatically turn off if left running and parked for over an hour — a feature that would be good to be aware of if you own one.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking