Letter to the Editor: Dog Left in Sunset Hills IHOP Car
This letter serves as a reminder that leaving pets in hot, unattended vehicles is illegal.
Today, my partner and I went to eat lunch at the IHOP in Sunset Hills, Mo. On our way out, we saw a Chihuahua left in a car, with all the windows up and no water, frantically running back and forth in the car with her tail and ears down. She seemed in distress, so we contacted the hostess within IHOP, and she said that the servers would talk to their tables to let the people know. The engine was cooler to the touch, so the car had been off for some time.
We decided to wait to see if the people came out to check on their dog, and to make sure she was okay. After 15 minutes of sitting there, we decided to contact the Sunset Hills Police Department. I had been researching online who to contact, as well as what Sunset Hills' stance was on dogs locked in cars, and the Police Department seemed to be the best option (which brought me to your page, http://sunsethills-crestwood.patch.com/d/articles/leaving-pets-in-hot-unattended-vehicles-is-inhumane-illegal.
"It is also illegal to leave a pet in a hot, unattended vehicle in Sunset Hills, said David Knight, a spokesman for the Sunset Hills Police Department. "If deemed necessary, we'll cite the owner as being in violation of our cruelty to animals ordinance," he said. "When we do get those calls, we are typically able to locate the owner and most say: 'We were just going to be in there for a minute.'").
The dispatcher told me that it is NOT illegal to leave a dog in a car, with no water and with all the windows up, for an extended time. I pushed, letting her know it had been at least 20 minutes that the dog had been in there, and she took my name and number. About 5 minutes later, an officer that had been circling the lot drove over to look at the car. He got out and looked in the car, and then drove away. Unsure what to do next, we stayed there until the people came to their car, which was another 40 minutes, for a total time of an hour with no water or fresh air for the dog, who was seemingly stressed. I understand that it was 57 degrees while this happened, and so the temperature may not have been a concern, but the dog also did not have water for the hour she was in the car.