What Would You Have Done?


Cooler weather today may be a relief for those who don’t like the excessive heat the Sault area has experienced this past last week  wheen temperatures hit a scorching 36c just two days ago. That same day, as first reported by SaultOnline.com, three dogs were found left in a hot vehicle with the windows completely shut. Bystanders notified Police to save the dogs.  The animals were taken into the care of the Humane Society.

SaultOnline.com has learned that the owners of the dogs reside at a dwelling on Trunk Road that has been described by the neighbourhood as “deplorable” . They operate a delivery service but the couple and their dogs don’t live in the home, but in a trailer surrounded by garbage and junk located on the property.  Cindy Ross, manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Humane Society was not available for a comment on the status of the dogs and whether they would be returned to the owner. At this time no charges have been laid.

SaultOnline.com has been in contact with one of the bystanders who assisted Police. She does not want to be identified however tells us why this incident and others like it bother her.


Sault Police talk to the owners of the vehicle and the three dogs.  Photo from Facebook.
SaultOnlince Was In Contact with the person who snapped this photo on Tuesday when temperatures hot 36c Downtown

I was on my way to my vehicle after work when I came across 3 young woman surrounding a vehicle in the King St. parking lot. Right when I walked up and asked what was going on the police cruiser arrived and they told me the dogs were locked in the car and that it had already been 25 minutes or more that they had been inside. The police officer immediately got authorization to break the window with his night stick while the 4 of us distracted the dogs to the back of the car in an effort to keep them safe from the glass.

The one dog was still lying motionless on the passenger side floor while we knocked and waved our hands at the dogs. I managed to help the officer get the drivers side door open and the police officer attempted to get the dogs to come to him, who were hiding in the back after he started to break the glass. The smaller one on the floor, at this point, had gotten up and moved to the floor in the backseat as well. They weren’t coming to the officer so I attempted to climb into the car over the glass and get them out but they wouldn’t come to me either. The other ladies took turns and managed to get 2 of the 3 out into the air conditioned waiting cruiser. I was attempting to get the 3rd out but it was biting at me. I managed to get all 4 doors open. While I was still in the vehicle I heard the owner approaching and yelling for me to get out of her car.

The officer took control of the situation and the lady cooperated by putting the last dog into the cruiser herself since the dog had a tendency to bite. The policeman said their vehicle would be impounded since they couldn’t drive without an intact drivers window. The man arrived a few minutes later at the scene and didn’t seem to be upset at all. The Humane Society arrived shortly after while the officer was taking down the primary witness information. The couple did help load their dogs from the cruiser into the human society vehicle.

If the policeman hadn’t arrived when he did, I would have smashed the window myself. I am one of the hugest animal lovers you will ever meet. I was raised on a farm and both of my parents were conservation officers. I have always been taught to respect nature, wildlife, and all animals. I have been an advocate for animals and wildlife my entire life, involved with groups such as Greenpeace, WWF, volunteering at our local humane society, and advocating on behalf of the current condition the animals at Spruce Haven Zoo are under.

I have never met a human I liked more than a dog, and it is my personal belief that the lives of animals are just as important as the lives of human beings. This is why it enrages me so much when I see obvious and blatant abuse of animals like this.

The officer said that the couple may be charged and I certainly hope they get more than just a slap on the wrist. I think it is important to share this story (which could have been a very tragic one) so people take the consequences of this abhorrent behaviour more seriously. The owners did not show any indication of remorse when they arrived at the scene of the rescue. Though I was not the first to arrive on the scene, I am glad I was able to actively jump in and help save those 3 dogs. I don’t think I would be able to survive 45 minutes in a locked up car on a 37 degree day- I am so relieved these animals were removed in time and hopefully have not suffered any long-term damage as a result.

I have been thinking about making a career change to something involving animals, and I would love to be able to someday work for the SPCA, or some other animal welfare organization. I have my own personal aspirations of one day opening a wildlife rehabilitation centre here in the Sault and hope to be accepted into a wildlife rehabilitation 6 week internship next summer to learn more about the process.

What would you have done in this case? The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service report that 7 such calls for assistance have been made to Police Services since the hot weather arrived. Would you get involved  if you saw a dog in distress in a hot vehicle?  Sound off in the comments section!