The dangers of leaving dogs in cars during sweltering heat nearly prompted an NBC news anchor in Denver to throw a rock through a stranger's window to help a suffering animal.
Kyle Clark of NBC affiliate KUSA was going to grab some lunch on June 9 when he heard a dog crying loudly from the back of a locked Honda CR-V in a mall parking lot on a 90-degree day.
"Do you know how hot it is in 90-degree sun when you're wearing a suit, or fur, in a car?'' Clark said on a KUSA broadcast about the encounter.
Clark called 311 for help in Denver, and while he was on hold, the dog's owner emerged from a frozen yogurt store. Clark said the owner "basically laughed" in his face when he suggested the person should not be leaving the dog in the car on such a hot day.
"So there's an apology in order,'' Clark said. "Not for you, no. For your dog. I'm sorry that your dog does not have better humans." The video, posted to Clark's Facebook page last week, has been viewed more than 1.2 million times, and has nearly 21,000 shares.
The person could have potentially been committing a crime because leaving an animal in a hot vehicle constitutes animal cruelty in Denver and is punishable with a fine of up to $999 and/or one year in jail, according to the Denver Animal Shelter.
The organization notes that temperatures can reach 120 degrees in minutes inside a car on a hot day, so dogs should not be left inside even for a short time. Dogs cannot sweat, so they can quickly overheat and suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation.
The animal shelter also offers tips on how to help if you see a dog in distress in a hot car. Check for panting, glazed eyes, dark tongue or vomiting, and immediately call local animal protection to report the situation.
You also should take down the make and model of the car and notify any businesses nearby to make an announcement to find the owner, according to The Humane Society. If the owner cannot be located, call the non-emergency number for the local police or animal control and wait until they arrive.
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