Thursday, August 16, 2012


By Lauren Bird August 16 2012

Jacqueline Wilt was on her way to have blood work done at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital when she noticed a dog in distress in a vehicle in the hospital parking lot.

“I’m a dog lover, so that was the first thing, I always notice dogs,” she said.

The small pooch had been left in a car on the 32 C day, with only about an inch of the driver’s side window open.

“His eyes were bulging, his tongue was hanging off onto one side, he was drooling saliva — the whole bit. And he was jumping at the window like he wanted out big time,” Wilt said.

She said she looked around for the owner of the vehicle but then noticed the doors were left unlocked.

“At first, I wasn’t sure what I should do, but when they were unlocked I thought, ‘Oh, he shouldn’t stay in there.’ ”

She opened the door, called over a couple of passersby who happened to have some water, and took care of the dog.

“When I leaned in the heat was just like opening your oven at home when you’ve got something baking. The heat was so hot and I held his little body and his body was really hot,” she said.

She took him in the shade and gave him some water. When he cooled down, the real estate agent left her card and a note on the front seat of the vehicle notifying the owner that she had taken the dog to the lobby.

The director of education and training at the Fredericton SPCA said the shelter has received several calls this summer about animals left in hot vehicles.

“We’re trying to raise awareness on the issue. The temperature can be anywhere from 10 degrees hotter (in a parked car),” Lee Ann Haggerty.

She said leaving the windows down won’t do much to cool pets. Even 10-15 minutes can be severely damaging or even fatal to an animal. Still, she doesn’t recommend civilians remove the creatures from vehicles.

“If anybody sees a dog or any animal that seems to be in distress in a parked car on a hot day, they should contact the authorities that are able handle those types of situations,” Haggerty said.

The New Brunswick SPCA and the police are authorized to go into a vehicle. Haggerty also suggested civilians try and find the owner by going to the public address system in the store or building where the car is parked.

“We wouldn’t advise people to take measures into their own hands because you need to protect yourself, the animal might react or also, (there is) the legality of going into somebody’s vehicle,” she said.

Wilt did ask staff at the hospital’s front desk to page the driver using the driver’s licence plate number, but they refused. In order not to miss her appointment, she asked a hospital volunteer to watch the dog while she went back to her car to grab her purse.

She saw a man standing by the car and asked him if it was his dog.

“He wasn’t too impressed. I said, ‘I have your dog. It’s in the cool lobby in the hospital.’ And I said it was just really too hot to be in that car.”

The man collected his dog without saying much and went back to the parking lot, she said.

It seems, however, the man learned his lesson. As Wilt was leaving, she saw the car was still in the parking lot, but the man and his dog were sitting under a tree.

No comments: