The incident happened on a hot Saturday in Southend. As temperatures rose above 20°C, passersby became concerned about a car they'd seen parked up for several hours.
Shoppers became so concerned they reported the car to the police. But it wasn't because the vehicle was suspicious or didn't have a parking ticket. It was because of what was inside it.
Reports to police
When Essex Police arrived, they immediately saw what was concerning shoppers. Inside the vehicle was a Terrier breed dog, gasping for air. The poor pup had been in the boiling hot vehicle for at least three hours and was struggling to breathe.
Before officers located the dog's owner, their priority was to get the pup out into fresh air. Cars can become as hot as an oven incredibly quickly. When temperatures are 22°C outside, the temperature inside a car can reach 47°C in less than an hour. Not surprisingly, temperatures like this can be very dangerous for any animal locked inside and lead to heatstroke.
With the help of Southend Community Safety Partnership, Southend BID and Southend Borough Council, Essex Police got the poor dog out to safety by smashing one of the car's windows.
While all this was going on, the dog's owner was enjoying a drink at a nearby local pub, unaware of what was going on. Shortly afterwards, the owner of the dog appeared and drove away only to be arrested for drink driving.
A dog has been rescued in Southend after being shut in a car for three hours while its owner went to the pub.— BBC Essex (@BBCEssex) June 1, 2021
Temperatures in the town on Saturday afternoon when this happened reached 19-20 degrees.
A window had to be smashed to get the dog out.
📷John Gurel/CSP pic.twitter.com/uR9JPK5Qyg
What should you do if you see a dog in a hot car
If you spot a dog in a car on a hot day, the RSPCA recommend that you call 999. The police will notify the RSPCA if animal welfare help is needed. If the RSPCA cannot attend quickly enough in an emergency, the police will take the necessary action. Remember, dogs die in hot cars.
If you decide to break into the car to get the dog out, this is technically criminal damage and a criminal offence. If you decide to take such action, make sure you tell the police what you plan to do. It's a good idea to film the incident and note any witnesses' names and contact details.