SACRAMENTO, CA - A small cocker spaniel was pulled from a car by Sacramento firefighters Wednesday afternoon as the temperature soared to 100 degrees.
An embarrassed couple later came to claim the dog, telling mall security they'd been checking on the animal every 15 minutes.
But Arden Fair Mall security officers had also been checking on the dog using a special laser gun to measure the heat inside the car. When it approached 100 degrees, they called for firefighters.
"This is the fourth one we've had this year," mall security Chief Steve Reed said.
The spaniel was panting and sweating profusely when firefighters pulled it out, but seemed to recover quickly.
"Even though the individual said he had been coming out there every 15 minutes - put a fur coat on and sit in a car that's a 100 degrees - it's not gonna be very good for you," Reed said.
Sacramento Animal Control was also called and ended up fining the couple $200 for leaving an unsupervised animal in a car; illegal under a Sacramento City ordinance.
Animal control officer John Sorrels said they see many calls for help, even on the hottest summer days when pets can die after only a few minutes in a car when the temperature can reach over 100 degrees.
"They could die, they get heatstroke. We'll have to break your window out, maybe, and take your dog and take it to the vet and you may or may not get it back. Might find yourself in court," Sorrels said.
Asked about the incident, the dog's owner did not seem to have regrets.
"The car's in the shade. I've come out every 15 minutes checking on it," the dog's owner said.
The couple first left without their dog, but then came back to pick it up from mall security. They did tell a mall security officer they were embarrassed by all the attention.
Reed was unmoved.
"At this point I'm not concerned about their embarrassment, I am concerned about the animals safety," Reed said.
Fortunately, when the small, brown spaniel left about an hour later, it seemed fine.