Man charged after leaving small dog in hot car at Niagara shopping centre

A Whitby man is facing a charge after police broke into a vehicle to rescue a dog in distress at Niagara-on-the-Lake shopping centre on the weekend.

Investigators say the incident happened Saturday around 5:30 p.m. at the Outlet Collection on Taylor Road following a tip from bystanders reporting a small dog with white fur panting heavily and barking in a parked automobile.

“The dog was attempting to exit the vehicle at different windows consistently, and appeared to be in extreme distress,” Niagara police said in a release on Monday.

“After not being able to contact the driver, police broke the driver’s side window.”

Read more: SIU investigate after man suffers ‘critical’ injuries in Niagara Falls incident

Officers say the owner of the vehicle did return a short time later. The 39-year-old was arrested and charged with causing unnecessary suffering.

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He was later released and is expected in court at a later date.

In recent times Niagara Regional Police have warned pet owners not to leave animals in vehicles, particularly in the summer.

“Harmful and even life-threatening effects can occur in a short time in a hot car,” the service said in a 2020 media release.

“Dogs can’t release heat by sweating, as humans do, so their internal body temperature rises more quickly.”

The service says anyone encountering an animal similarly in distress should reach out to police who legally have the authority to enter a vehicle.

Bystanders should never try to break a glass window to aid a pet as they risk harming themselves and the animal, say police.

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