Letter: We must speak for animals
I’m glad Officer Dawn Neely is educating the public about an often deadly issue for pets. The dog in Rifle was left in a closed car with AC running until the motor shut off for an hour and forty-five minutes while its owner “visited someone.”
State law does give immunity to anyone forcibly entering a locked vehicle to assist an at-risk person or animal. I’ve paged owners when there is time — the dog is only rapidly panting, not yet on the floor. When time is short I immediately call dispatch with model, color and license of vehicle. Owners have returned, yelled/cursed, told me their dog “is fine” and to “f-off.” I attempt to tell them there is no judgment here, only concern for the dog. Police say to not confront an offender, let the officer do this; I agree, but sometimes limited confrontation is inevitable. I’ll never hesitate to speak for an animal. An abused child can tell a teacher, a neighbor, a sitter. We must speak for animals. After these tragic events we think “How can someone just forget their child or pet?” Sadly, it happens every year.
I’ve seen dogs in cars returned to by elderly owners seemingly oblivious to the heat and to the fact their dog is wearing a fur coat. Too many visitors to high altitude mountain towns think it’s OK to leave dogs in vehicles because “it’s the mountains.” Animal control officers, in the fall season at 9,500 feet, have found dead dogs in cars at trail heads. It’s bad enough they don’t get to hike, outrageous they’re left in cars to wait (and die).
When I hear a constantly barking dog, I find its situation. Often the silent ones have retreated to the floor to seek shade and cooler air. We cannot canvass an entire lot, but we can listen, look and report the ones clearly in distress. A constantly barking dog anywhere is not getting its needs met.
Retailers, please post signs at entry doors that say “No Dogs or Kids Left In Cars.” A dog tied in the shade of its owner’s car is safer than inside it.
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