A somewhat apocryphal story was going around last week about a Bridgehampton couple finding their dog dead after leaving it in a hot car on July 23. Whether this particular case is true or simply propaganda to send a message, it is an absolute, terrible fact that dogs can die from heat exhaustion much more easily than people think—and there is no shortage of folks leaving their best friends to bake in hot cars while they run important errands, like shopping for jeans or new blue tooth headsets.
To give some perspective on the matter, People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) explains that even on a 78-degree day, the temperature in a parked car can quickly rise to as much as 120 degrees. “Shock sets in as the dog’s internal temperature rises, and death can occur in just 15 minutes,” the animal rights organization says, adding, “It’s a gruesome, terrifying way to die—dogs struggle to escape the vehicle, often salivating heavily, losing control of their bladder and bowels, and clawing the car windows so violently that their paws become bloodied.”
Hope the groceries were worth it.
Thankfully, this sort of behavior falls under animal cruelty laws, so if you ever see a dog trapped inside a car, don’t hesitate to call police. “It is a legitimate reason to call,” a representative from Southampton Town Police said, though he noted that most people are a little too quick to pick up the phone. “Half of the time the dog in the car is gone before we get there,” the officer said, pointing out that in 11 years on the force, he has not seen a situation where a dog was in real danger and action needed to be taken.
But the potential for harm exists, and one local company is helping concerned citizens do something about it.
This week, Sag Harbor’s Bark-Co Industries released the Pet Saver, a new tool for helping overheated dogs escape from their vehicular prisons. For sale online and in pet shops around the country, the Bark-Co Pet Saver (pictured above) makes extracting panting pets a breeze. Simply attach the included life-sized bacon decal (patent pending) on the passenger side window to draw the dog away from the driver’s side, where striking should occur.
Once the offending window has been eliminated, remove the pooch inside and relocate to a safe and happy home.