Beachside in England, temperatures had risen to well into the 90s. Beachgoers enjoyed themselves in the beautiful weather until they spotted a French Bulldog alone in a parked car.
A Hot Car is No Place For a Dog
Hollie Evans and her friends attempted to pass some water to the pup through a crack in the car window, but unfortunately, the crack was too small. They decided that they would have to smash a window in order to remove the dog from the stifling hot car. They used a hammer to smash a window, retrieved the dog, and passed him along to the local park rangers.
Hollie told Surrey Live, “The temperature was increasing, and the dog was showing signs of distress, and he started being sick, and his breathing became erratic. We needed to get the dog out for his welfare. The group decided for the dog’s safety to break the window and get him out. We broke the window, got the dog out and took him to shade. He was still being sick.”
When the owners returned to their car, they were livid. They argued with their dog’s rescuers, concerned most about their car’s now broken window.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Unfortunately, in the UK, rescuers who damage personal property to retrieve a pet may have to defend themselves in court.
The RSPCA law states, “Under section 5(2)(a) of the Criminal Damage Act 1971, you have an excuse to commit an unlawful crime on someone’s property if you believe the owner would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances. In an emergency, we may not be able to attend quickly enough and with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident. Don’t be afraid to dial 999, the police will inform us if animal welfare assistance is required. If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.”
An RSCPA spokesperson elaborates on the law, “We are aware of this situation. Unfortunately, we are unable to discuss complaints about specific people. We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us. It’s only natural for animal lovers to take action when they see a dog in distress in a hot car. We urge people to tell the police what they intend to do, why, and take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident, in case they need to defend their actions later.”
Thankfully, Hollie recorded the whole ordeal on video.
Hollie explained the situation to Surrey Live, “We waited for just over four hours in total for the owners to return. They weren’t remotely interested in the dog’s welfare and were more concerned about the broken window of the car. No thanks was given, just abuse and threatening behaviour.”
Although it is likely that this story has a happy ending for Hollie due to her video and testimony, we’re not quite sure this story has quite as happy an ending for the dog.
Based on police recommendation, the park rangers released the dog back to the care of the negligent owners with a lecture on leaving dogs in hot cars.
We hope that the owners have learned a valuable lesson and will keep their dog safe. Please pass this information along to ensure your friends and family are aware of the dangers!