Should you break into a car to ‘rescue’ dog on hot day? Auburn police say no
AUBURN — With temperatures in the upper 80s, police continue to respond to calls of animals being left in hot cars. This weekend, a Good Samaritan tried to rescue a dog left in a SUV in an Auburn shopping center. But now, she could face charges of malicious mischief.
Jeff Linnell was filming when a woman broke into a Chevrolet Suburban Saturday afternoon, trying to help a dog that was locked inside.
“The dog had been whimpering and then just stopped,” Linnell said Monday. “We couldn’t really see the dog because it was blacked out windows, or really dark windows. “
Linnell and his wife said temperatures were in the high 80s, and the vehicle’s windows were only cracked a couple inches. They tried to have the owners paged at the nearby Sam’s Club. When they got tired of waiting, they called 911.
“You and I can open a window or climb out or get a drink of water. That dog was locked in a carry kennel, inside a closed vehicle with windows barely open.”
Just minutes after the window was broken, an Auburn police officer showed up. The Good Samaritan admitted what happened.
“Write me a ticket and let the dog out,” she said.
Police said the dog did not appear to be in immediate distress, although Linnell took a picture of the dog with his tongue sticking out. He said that tells a different story.
It will now be up to prosecutors to decide whether the Good Samaritan broke the law by breaking a stranger’s windows.
“No one is telling us this is the right thing to do, this is the wrong thing,” Linnell said. “If we had known exactly what the law was, we probably would have waited. Or I would have told the lady it's against the law, you really shouldn't do that.”
Prosecutors will also determine whether the dog’s owners were guilty of animal cruelty.
“How could you possibly leave your dog inside a closed vehicle and be OK with that?" Linnell asked. "I could see on a 40-degree day, but on an 86-degree day? It's a life, it's terrible.”
Police say they will respond to calls about animals being left in cars, and so will animal control. They say it’s better for them to respond because they may be able to gain access to a car without breaking a window.