Hendersonville, North Carolina- You Rock!

Photo Credit: Mike Dirks, Times News

I’m so proud of my new hometown, Hendersonville, North Carolina. Today’s local newspaper, the Times-News featured an important and educational front page story documenting a dangerous scenario that is, unfortunately, all too common this time of year. In Bella the Boxer’s case, tragedy was averted thanks to a heads up good Samaritan and an on-the-ball police officer. Here’s how the story goes:


Police rescued a dog Thursday afternoon that was left in a locked vehicle at the mall, as temperatures soared to about 90 degrees outside and more than 100 degrees inside the truck.

A man from Athens, Ala. was charged with misdemeanor cruelty to animals.

The one-year-old Boxer, named Bella, was locked for about an hour in a Chevy Silverado truck, with the windows only slightly cracked, in the parking lot of the Blue Ridge Mall Thursday, police said.

A woman noticed the dog on her way into the building, according to police. After leaving the mall a half-hour later, she noticed the dog was still in the truck and called the police.

Lt. Mike Vesely of the Hendersonville Police Department arrived and had announcements made in the mall for the owner to return to the truck. When the owner did not return, Vesely used the website mydogiscool.com  to determine the temperature in the truck, which was estimated to be 115 degrees, and noticed the dog was starting to foam at the mouth.

Police used an unlocking device to get into the truck and removed the dog, putting her in an air-conditioned police vehicle with water.

The owner was charged when he returned to his vehicle. The dog was returned to him.

“This may be our third call for a dog in a car this summer,” Vesely said. “This is the only one that was extreme enough that someone has been charged and that we have had to rescue the dog.”

Vesely said the website he used is a great reference for residents to use to determine just how hot a car can get. The website quickly tells the user what the temperature could be by how hot it is outside.

“If it’s hot enough for a human to be uncomfortable in a car without the air conditioning on, it is hot enough for a dog to be uncomfortable and possibly in danger,” Vesely said.

Hats off to everyone involved in saving Bella’s life and kudos to the Hendersonville Times-News for placing this story front and center, where it belongs. What a fantastic way to educate the public!

An episode of heatstroke almost always ends tragically, not only for the animal, but for the individual who, through their own ignorance, has caused horrific suffering for their pet. To learn more about heatstroke prevention, I encourage you to read “A Summertime Reminder.”

Please don’t take “dog days of summer” literally. As much as you enjoy your best buddy’s company, when temperatures are soaring, your dog is best served by staying home.

Have you ever been the good Samaritan who has happened upon an animal left in a car on a hot day? How did you respond?

A reminder that until the end of July all proceeds from sales of Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health will be donated to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region to help pay for the care of animals displaced by the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. When you purchase a book, your name (but not your contact information) will be added to the list of donors.

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

Be Sociable, Share!

8 Comments on “Hendersonville, North Carolina- You Rock!

  1. Bless those who save dogs but don’t let your zeal circumvent sense ,either. As I travel alone, dashes to restrooms are necessary…I may be parked at a fast food joint but I’m only using the facility: food’s ordered at the drive up window. My dog has a water filled coolmat to lie on, a damp cool coat or collar( re frozen each night in motels) windows are shaded, dish full of ice.
    A fan and sometimes the whole van, is running.
    Please observe the dog’s comfort level before you start smashing windows. I’m often thousands of miles from home and have thought this out a bit beforehand.

  2. As a response to Jane Eagle: any behaviour to save a companion’s life is appropriate – within reason, of course. Unfortunately, wire in the windows is not adequate cooling when a car is in the sun, which literally becomes a hot house. Yes, I have broken windows of cars to extricate dogs suffering terribly from heat stroke. I would do the same if it was a child in the car and we know that that also happens resulting in dead children. I don’t know how nasty the note was which the unknown person left for her but I can understand the frustration and anger when people see such carelessness.

    Oh yes! I was not cited for breaking the windows. In California we may be a litle crazy but even the police agree that such extreme measures are justified to save a life.

    And if you knew that the dog had extreme separation angst, it should have been a red flag. Such fear is not tied to time, it will surface often in minutes.

    Another danger presents itself – when windows are cracked or sunroofs are open, your pet can and very often is, stolen. Is that worth the risk?

    Personally, unless I take my pet to the veterinarian or the groomer or visit friends, I leave them at home. In these places I can and do take them inside be it summer or winter. By the way, even in winter on a sunny day the car heats up in a very short time regardless of the outside temperature. Consequently my philosophy dictates that I prefer them to be bored at home than dead in the car.

    And as long as the law merely slaps the hands of such inresponsible people and tightens the consequences, there will be more animals who will suffer and too often die.

  3. I found a dog unattended in a car when it was 95 degrees in the shade at our local large chain grocery store. I asked the employee to make announcement. After 2 announcements I had to assume the driver was in another store in the strip center so I called the police.
    The driver finished his shopping, came out to find me at his car window and became quite angry, threating me. Thank goodness an off duty police officer came out of the store and rescued me! He also warned the driver to leave the dog at home during the summer. Now I wonder the car was a mess and old, what if the man was homeless living out of his car? Why aren’t the laws stronger for people who’s dogs die or even simply leave a dog in high temp’s? Isn’t this animal abuse? Grrr

  4. I agree this is a huge problem of which, strangely, many dog companions seem to be unaware. Several times I have gone into shops to call the police, only to have a shocked human go running out to save their dog. I would not hesitate to break a window to save a dog’s life. HOWEVER, a few years ago, I had a foster dog at an adoption event. She had some of the worst separation anxiety I’ve encountered. After the event, I had to run into a shop to get something to drink on the long drive home. I have a camper shell with wire in the windows, so I can leave all windows completely open. When I returned 7 minutes later, there was broken glass everywhere, and as I frantically searched for my dog, people came out of a pet store with her, and told me she had smashed the window. After I cleaned up all the glass, we had a 80 mile drive home with no window on the driver’s side. For months, I was terrified to leave any dog alone in any car, ever, “knowing” a dog can break a window to get out…then it dawned on me: this person had disregarded the open windows in my vehicle, saw a dog with sep anx, and smashed my window, leaving a nasty note. This is NOT appropriate behavior.

  5. “An episode of heatstroke almost always ends tragically, not only for the animal, but for the individual who, through their own ignorance, has caused horrific suffering for their pet.”

    I knew someone who accidentally left her elderly shih tzu and young boxer locked in her SUV during 90+ degree tropical heat. The shih tzu survived by going to the floor (cooler there I guess) while the boxer tore the upholstery apart in her vain efforts to escape. She must have endured unspeakable suffering during the 3 hours before she was discovered, dead. The woman had taken her 2 young children into the house and “forgotten” the dogs till hours later. I knew both dogs fairly well and can’t get it out of my head. Appalling.

  6. That’s great that the “owner” was charged with a slap on the wrist, it’s better than no punishment, but they never should have returned Bella to him. He must’ve known how hot it already was and that it would get hotter. He cared more about having a good time than Bella’s life.
    As someone who has rescued animals for many years, this type of behavior pattern signals long term neglect and outright abuse. He will do it again and Bella may not be so lucky next time.

  7. We lived for a brief time in Williamsburg, VA where temps are very hot in summer…hot and very humid. Last year I stopped at a local mall to shop, noticed a NS Duck Troller in a car with windows cracked , car sitting in the hot sun, dog frantic inside. I called Animal Control who came to the animals aid. Warden took the temp of the car and was going to remove the dog when the owner returned. I had been with the dog more than 45 minutes but the dog’s owner said she had only been inside for 10 minutes. Really??? Warden called her on this lie, sited her and off they went. Hope this dog owner learned a lesson but doubt it. Poor dog.

  8. I would never take my dog to the mall on a hot day. However, I do have to leave my dog in the car long enough to go the the bathroom when we travel. That’s why I insisted my new car had a sunroof.

    I open all the windows and the sunroof. That way the car can not get above ambient temperature.

    I stop for a longer period, like to eat the windows, sunroof and the back are open and my dog and my car are with in eyesight.

    I don’t go any where where I have to leave my dog in the car unattended for any length of time