Kent County Hospital security, pedaling around the lot on his bike, heard a dog barking and crying locked inside a vehicle -parked in the sun- with the windows barely cracked.
Though there were plenty of parking spaces in the hospital parking lot, this vehicle was parked all the way at the back end of the lot, next to the hospital's helipad.
Hospital security thankfully called WPD, and Animal Control along with a Warwick police officer, responded within minutes. The police officer was able to extract the dog from the vehicle without causing any damage.
The dog was clearly in distress, excessively panting with the inside car temperature measurement of 112F.
The owner of the vehicle eventually came to the car (white haired man, possibly late 60's early 70's roughly 5'10") about 10 minutes after the dog was rescued. He claimed he had been in the hospital for about 20 minutes and had a "hard time finding a parking spot." The owner was apologetic, yet seemed unfazed when was he was told what the inside temperature of his car was with his dog slowly dying inside. The owner also shared that he had adopted/rescued the dog from the Warwick Animal Shelter after his wife passed away.
I wanted to contact the Warwick Animal Shelter to ask them if all of the people that come through their shelter to adopt a dog are educated on the "hot car" issue, but they were closed today. If this isn't happening, I'm going to work to have it become a mandate. I think that any person adopting a dog from a shelter should have to take and pass an animal safety test first.
Our three animal control officers are Amy, Heather and Eric and they work very hard, and do an excellent job. When they are off two days per week, I think there should be a fourth animal control officer working part time to cover for those off days.
There are many animal control issues that occur daily in Warwick that range from chickens or dogs getting loose, to animal neglect, nuisance calls (excessive dog barking) to sick, injured or dead animals, to dogs being left in hot vehicles --especially during the summer season.
I also think the RI cruelty to animals laws should have heavier penalties/mandatory jail time for anyone that neglects, mistreats or abuses any animal. First offense should not be a fine of "up to" $500, it should be a mandatory, minimum fine of $500. When it's a second offense, mandatory automatic jail time, minimum 90 days.
What do you think? What do you think the fines/penalties should be for first or second offense animal abuse/neglect cases? Please leave your comments under the post on the Warwick Watch Facebook page. Thank you!
*Update- 8/11/2017 , 11:04 am-- after consulting with several individuals, it is perfectly legal for anyone to record and or take photos of anyone out in public, on any property, including a hospital parking lot.
The individual responsible for leaving this dog in a hot car is Donald Christy and the plate number of his vehicle is 363-601.
Hopefully the judge will fine him the max of $500--- it should be more!!