I had to do a bit of shopping this afternoon and as I went into the supermarket (Sainsburys) I spotted a car with it's back windows open a few inches (always a tell-tale sign that there's someone in the car...). It was parked in the shade but those of us that have done our research know that a car can still become dangerously hot in these conditions.
As I approached I saw them... two greyhounds lying down in the back of the car. As they saw me one of them stood up poking his nose through the gap in the windows. They were both panting distressingly heavily.
I took a photo and a quick bit of film as evidence and went immediately went to the Customer Service and told the not-too-concerned assistant that there were two dogs in distress in a car, gave her the registration and details and asked that she request the owner return to her car.
I went back to the car as the announcement was made (not for the owner to return to her car as her dogs were in distress, but just to come to Customer Service...) and watched the dogs get more and more distressed. They didn't even get up as I returned to the car, they were lying as low as they could, clearly having difficulty in breathing and in some distress.
I then saw the owner, a middle-aged woman, wander up to the Customer Service desk and simply could not believe my ears as she tried to defend her actions, with the shop assistant agreeing with her sympathetically... Comments such as
'my dogs are fine... I'm checking on them all the time etc... Some people are just busybodies.. They just want to cause trouble..." etc.
I could not believe my eyes as this personification of ignorance just walked back into the shop and continued her shopping.
I immediately contacted the RSPCA, got through straight away, reported the incident, gave them all the details and by this time (some 15 minutes later), the owner came wandering out, went to her car, unloaded her shopping, returned her trolley to the bay and then got in the car, not looking in at the dogs once....
I didn't see them stir, so I am only hoping and praying that they weren't already beyond help. The RSPCA have said they will follow up the incident as they have the registration number and I am hoping and praying they will.
I completely understood the aggrieved stance this ignorant owner took; I see it all the time. Owners who - instead of taking an incident like this as an opportunity to take a step back, look at their actions and see if there is a point to them being reported - take a defensive position because they feel their actions have been criticised. When I see this kind of reaction I know that I have 'touched a nerve'... a person truly ignorant of the fact that their dog's welfare has been compromised will react with surprise, not defiance.
I also know from experience that personally challenging people like this is pointless, even though I wanted to. This kind of person will only take notice of 'officialdom', and not someone they see as an equal; another member of the public. This is why I hope the RSPCA will do the job I know they can do very well and follow this up. I am also hoping at the very least, this owner will think twice about taking her dogs with her to go to Sainsburys, as there are people who WILL be an advocate for her dogs and disturb her little shopping trip.
|From Scrapbook Photos|
As soon as I got home, I checked the temperature in my living room - completely in the shade, insulated against the heat via double glazing and being mid-terrace. My dogs were peacefully snoozing and it actually felt really cool and comfortable, but I was amazed at the temperature reading of this room...
|From Scrapbook Photos|
I shuddered as I thought of those poor greyhounds in that car... Goodness only knows what the temperature was in there.