Never leave your dog unattended in a closed car. To me, this seems like it should be common sense. Yet all the time, especially in summer, we hear reports of owners who leave their dogs behind in a vehicle while they’re off doing errands or even socializing.
One particularly egregious example of this neglect comes out of the “most magical place on earth.” At around 5 pm on Monday August 9, 2021, Jerry Dana French heard a dog bark in the parking lot of the Hollywood Studios park at Walt Disney World, Florida.
Journalist Parker Branton obtained a post from French’s personal Facebook, where she described the upsetting discovery of this dog inside a parked car:
“She looked right up into my eyes and said ‘help.’ Looking around I saw an empty bowl and a parking receipt for 11:48 am!”
That means the owner left the dog in the locked car for over 5 hours. After French alerted police, they inspected and determined the Maltese likely had only an hour before the situation turned fatal.
French, invested at this point, parked her car nearby as more time went by until emergency services freed the dog from the car.
“I started to cry at this point and security tried to get me to leave but I just couldn’t.”
Once Orange County Sheriffs pulled the dog from the car, they immediately gave her water. Police then located the owner inside the park, and they left with their dog.
No Charges Filed Against The Owner
The laws regarding leaving a dog in a hot car vary from state to state. In some places, the owner might receive a citation or potentially a more severe charge. This particular Disney-goer was not charged once police located them.
In a statement obtained by People, a representative for the OCSO shared:
“On August 9, 2021, at 6:03 P.M., one of our deputies responded to a Hollywood Studios parking lot regarding a dog locked in a vehicle. After the dog was removed from the vehicle with the help of the Reedy Creek Fire Department, the owner was located in the park. The dog was returned to the owner, who left the park. No charges were filed.”
It’s very fortunate that this dog, who might have died if she stayed in that car any longer, ended up okay. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, even on a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a closed car can reach 89 degrees in just 10 minutes. You can only imagine how hot it was on this Florida day in August.
Severe heatstroke can cause your dog to go unconscious and lead to organ failure. I’ll say it again: never leave your dog unattended in a closed car. The Tower of Terror can wait until you get a sitter.