Leaving A Dog in a Hot Car Can Get You in Trouble
A Manor man who left his puppy in the car in a Walmart parking lot is facing Class A misdemeanor charges.
It’s hot, y’all. Temperatures throughout the state range from the low-nineties in East Texas to the mid- and upper-nineties in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. The Valley, meanwhile, has already broken into triple digits in the low-hundreds, and El Paso anticipates a high of 110 degrees on Friday. Some experts have anticipated rain may cool things down this week in certain parts of the state, but still, this is a hot summer. And it’s barely halfway through June.
That doesn’t make going outside a ton of fun for people (unless they’re heading straight for a body of water), and it’s not great for their pets, either. That’s something that a 20-year-old Manor man had to be reminded of by police after they discovered an eight-week-old puppy locked in his car in a Walmart parking lot.
According to KXAN, the dog was panting, crying, and trying to hide under a seat in the car in pursuit of shade. The owner, Chandler Bullen, left the sunroof partly open (note: cracking a window or otherwise allowing for some light ventilation is not enough to keep your dog happy and safe), police were able to use a tire iron to reach the door lock and open the door, getting the pup out and watered while they waited for the man to return.
After they rescued the puppy and were giving her water, police said the owner Chandler Bullen, 20, returned to his car from the store at about 4:22 p.m. Police said he told them that he’d been inside shopping for at least 30 minutes. He said the puppy is a mix of Mexican wolf and German Shephard and that her name is Annabelle.
“The officers just spoke with him and asked him why, you know, they left the animal in there with the windows up and the extreme heat,” said Manor Police Sgt. Randall Anderson. “And his reaction was, basically, he didn’t want to waste gas.”
Police said that the temperature at 4:30 p.m. in Manor was 99 degrees with a heat index of 109 degrees.
Unlike a number of other states, Texas has no specific laws to protect dogs in hot cars, but Bullen was charged with cruelty to non-livestock animals—a Class A misdemeanor with potential penalties of up to $4,000 in fines and a year in jail. (Texas courts have established that the existing law is sufficient for prosecuting the crime.)
If you see a dog in a hot car, Texas law doesn’t allow for “good samaritans” to break windows or otherwise do something illegal to get the pup out (only Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Florida have such laws). Rather, the Humane Society recommends that you start by taking down the license plate number and make and model of the car and asking nearby businesses to page the owner. Many people aren’t aware of the danger they’re putting their pets in by leaving them unattended in a hot car, and simply letting them know can be effective in resolving the situation. If no one comes, they recommend calling 311 or other non-emergency police or animal services numbers for help.