Onlookers Film As Man Risks Arrest And Smashes Window To Save Dog Trapped In Overheated Car

Jun 02, 2021 by apost team

One hot summer day in June of 2016, Mark Lewis, a radio sales manager, took heroic action when a small dog was trapped in a black BMW. Lewis and the other onlookers were attending a music festival in Ontario, Canada and the temperature was nearing 90 degrees. The dog had begun to pace around the car and looked panicked.

In a video, taken by someone in the small crowd of worried festival-goers, you can see the small white dog pacing in the hot car and trying to find a way out. The windows were cracked open slightly, but that did nothing to help the dog while it was trapped in a black car with black leather interiors. Festival workers tried to reach the car’s owner over the loudspeaker but nobody arrived to free the pup.  

With the dog becoming more and more agitated, Lewis decided to take action even at the risk of being arrested for property damage. He and a member of the crowd tried to pick the lock of the door first but when that didn’t work they turned to a large rock instead. It took three tries to break open the car’s back window, but Lewis managed it and the dog was freed.

The dog was soaking wet and seemed completely disoriented when it was finally out of the hot car. Overall, the dog was fine and Lewis had succeeded at saving its life. The owners of the BMW arrived on the scene almost an hour later. They did not press charges against Lewis, so the man was free to go, knowing he had done a good thing. 

Be sure to reach the end of this article to see the full video 

Lewis spoke with Inside Edition after the event and shared the circumstances of the situation and why he felt the need to intervene. “The car was in direct sunlight facing the lake and it was a black car with black leather interior and the windows rolled pretty much all the way up, so it was a recipe for disaster,” Lewis said.

The brave man added, “The dog seemed to be panicking. It was pacing back and forth inside the car.” After seeing the look of desperation on the dog’s face, Lewis knew he had to do something. The other onlookers agreed, with the car’s owner nowhere to be found breaking in was the only way.

“No one objected to breaking the window,” Lewis told Inside Edition. Ordinarily, this kind of property damage would be a big deal, but with the dog’s life at risk and not much time to find an alternative plan, smashing the window with a rock was the best choice. 

After the dog was let out of the car, it seemed in pretty bad shape. Lewis recalled, "It was quite lethargic, it kind of draped itself over my arm. You could tell it was overheated.” Who knows how much worse the situation might have been had Lewis not acted with such determination. 

“People were telling me I did the right thing, but I began to be concerned because I damaged private property. I soon realized the repercussions would not have mattered; it was all about the dog. I don’t regret stepping up to the plate,” Lewis said in the same interview. 

Lewis said the bottom line is: “You have to use some judgement and these owners didn't.”

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, on a 90-degree day the interior of a car can reach up to 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. The dog in the video was in similar conditions but trapped inside the vehicles for hours.   

Getting relief from the heat is hard for dogs as they can only cool themselves down by panting. The organization also says that dogs can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke within 15 minutes. It is a miracle that the little dog from the video survived and did not have major health problems moving forward.

The Humane Society of The United States suggests that if you come across a dog trapped in a car you should write down the vehicle’s make, model and license plate number. If there are any businesses or security officers near the scene you should ask the establishment owners to make an announcement to find the owner of the car. In most cases, the dog owners are unaware of the danger and will return quickly when notified.  

If the owners still don’t arrive you can contact the non-emergency line for the police or call animal control. You should monitor the animal until the police arrive. The police can then request a tow service to unlock the car and then gain access to the interior to free the animal. 

According to the Humane Society, in some states, there are laws that protect people trying to save animals from trapped cars, so make sure to look up the law where you live to determine if you want to take action. This way you can save a life without risking your own freedom.

What would you have done in this situation? Have you ever come across an animal trapped in a hot car? Let us know what you think and be sure to send this to all the pet owners you know to keep them informed.  

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