The Trouble with other People\'s Pets

Imagine you are frequenting a large retail store on a hot summer day. As you are leaving you notice a dog in an unattended car with windows cracked. You notice the temperature is 103 degrees fahrenheit. Do you:

A. Call local government authorities in charge of policing animal cruelty.
b. ignore it and decide its none of your business.
c. break into the car to let the dog out.
d. Convince store personel to make an announcement about the dog so the owner will check on their pet.
e. other...

I ask this because I encountered several people today who were very upset about a pet that wasn't their's. The lady most concerned about the dog in question asked me to get water for it, asked me to make an announcement over the loud speaker regarding the pet that included the license plate number of the car it was in, and informed me that she had immediately contacted the authorites (who mysteriously never showed up). Then she watched the car until the owner returned.

I didn't end up having to make announcements or fetch water as the lady changed her mind on both the requests for various reasons, but I did find myself for about 10 minutes trying really hard to look and act like I really cared what happened to the aforementioned pet.

Later I discussed the issue with a co-worker. As it turns out the owner of the dog had mentioned to her that his pet was in the car and she insisted that he go get it and bring it in the store with him. Which he later did. She told me that at a previous job she had, they would break the windows of cars with pets left inside in order to get the animals out.

I don't like to see cute cuddly creatures suffer either, but where do you draw the line? Breaking a window seems like its barely shy of the sort of vandalism and terrorism that the animal rights movement has become famous for.

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What if you broke the window

What if you broke the window and the dog ran away? Then you'd really be in trouble.

If the police had come (odd that they didn't!) they could have pried open the cardoor or whatnot, and then it would have been out of your hands. Oh, well.

Could there be a market for

Could there be a market for screens on car windows, allowing the windows to be fully opened?

That is hilarious. I can't

That is hilarious. I can't believe people are like that. If you broke my car window to "help" my dog out, I'd sick my dog on you. Mind your own business, people!

Theft deterrence.

Theft deterrence.

Why the hell would you take

Why the hell would you take your dog to run errands with you?

That's right, mind your own

That's right, mind your own business, nothing to see here but animal abuse.

Thank goodness we can depend on that animal we keep roasting in the car to defend our negligence whenever someone shows any concern for its safety.

try a car alarm. They don't

try a car alarm. They don't die if you forget to roll the windows down.

And what if that dog grew up

And what if that dog grew up to be Adolf Hitler?

You have to think about these things.

The lady most concerned

The lady most concerned about the dog in question asked me to get water for it, asked me to make an announcement over the loud speaker regarding the pet that included the license plate number of the car it was in, and informed me that she had immediately contacted the authorites (who mysteriously never showed up). Then she watched the car until the owner returned.

Private aid: exactly why the authorities need not get involved.

Clara, Try this experiment.

Clara,
Try this experiment. On a hot day, park your car in the sun with the windows rolled mostly up and sit there for 20 minutes. Then go outside and sit under a tree.

I dont think pets have the same rights as children, but I do think they have more rights than say, some video cassettes sitting in the back seat. And I personally think letting an animal bake alive is worse than breaking a car window.

For the record, no I would

For the record, no I would not break a window for someone else's dog. I would break a window if there were an infant in the car on a hot day (in the right context). That is to say it would only be my first action if I thought the infant was in immediate danger (which would be entirely possible if it were 103 degrees outside). Otherwise I would attempt other avenues first.

Here in Texas, where we

Here in Texas, where we think a good dog is probably worth more than a bad human, one of us would probably have broken the window and left his name and address with an offer to pay for the damage. Me, I'd have got out my lock pick set if I thought I could get away with it.

Why the hell would you take

Why the hell would you take your dog to run errands with you?"

Because she likes to go in the car, and it depends on the errand. My dog especially likes going to the Dairy Barn drive through. They give her dog biscuits. She also knows the car is the way to get to the park, and also just likes being with me. How can I say no.

In the winter she can stay in the car for longer errands. Why anyone would leave their dog in the car on a hot summer day is beyond me. If you ever see my dog locked up in the car on a hot summer day feel free to break the windows to let her out.

As with most such incidences if I found a dog in a hot car on a summer day I would try an escalating scale of solutions all of which would include reporting the owners license plates to the local ASPCA. I think I'd try to find the owner and the doors before I broke any glass. It might come down to breaking glass if all other options didn't pan out and it was clear the dog was in danger.

Then again I'm the type of guy that thinks it's a duty to rescue babies drowning in buckets and a crime not to, so you might not want to listen to me.

BTW, I think it is criminal for people to abuse pets on the theory that the person who sold them the pet would not have done so if they knew the true intentions of the buyer. As per usual I think that should be the default convention, and if you intend to buy a dog to eat it then you had better be clear about that when you hand over the money. I think it is less clear for chickens that are raised for cock-fighting. There are other reasons however that I don't think animal fighting should be allowed, and I am not going to get into them.

Making an announcement is

Making an announcement is the best you can do.

You can also call the police, since leaving an animal shut up in the car might -- just might -- be illegal. (We might as well work within the system when it furthers our aims. ;-)

Wait, if the windows are

Wait, if the windows are open, isn't that kind of like leaving a dog *outside* in the shade? Dogs can handle that, right?

Maybe the dog had, you know,

Maybe the dog had, you know, done something bad, and was there for a reason.

Wait, if the windows are

Wait, if the windows are open, isn’t that kind of like leaving a dog outside in the shade? Dogs can handle that, right?

I think the idea is that they're only cracked open, so it's not as if they were fully open. So it's still a lot hotter than the shade, then.

. broken . window .

. broken . window . fallacy ... must . make . funny.

Some people believe caring

Some people believe caring for a pet involves a moral responsibility equal or similar to that of caring for a child. Some don't.

I think this is a point on which people may reasonably disagree, depending on their moral beliefs and their empathy with non-human animals. But if you are one of the latter people trying to understand the attitude of the former, imagine it was a human infant in the car. Would you let it die of heat stroke through inaction?

I bet Nozick, passing by,

I bet Nozick, passing by, would have busted that window the fuck open.

I myself wouldn't. We wouldn't bust a window open to save a dying baby, assuming it was a nice car and an ugly baby, so why would we bust one for a measly dog? Glass is expensive.