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Woman notices small dog in hot car, calls authorities

It has happened again.

For the second time in two weeks, a dog was discovered in a parked car at a local business.

Nye County Sheriff’s deputies, along with animal control responded to Walmart on Tuesday when a woman decided to go shopping while leaving a Chihuahua puppy inside her white Ford Expedition SUV.

Though the windows were partially down, the interior temperature of the SUV exceeded 120 degrees.

A passerby was alerted to the vehicle by the dog’s incessant barking.

“It caught my attention real fast,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous. “I walked over to the barking sounds and saw a white Ford with the windows partially rolled down and a little black dog inside barking and panting profusely. I went inside Walmart and asked them to somehow page the customer of the Expedition.”

The woman said she was told to call 911, which she did.

Upon walking back to the vehicle, Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue crews who happened to be in the area, were flagged down and freed the dog.

Shortly thereafter, Animal Control Officer Susan Ryhal arrived on scene.

“When I arrived here the officers had taken a temperature reading of 125 degrees inside the vehicle,” she said. “Witnesses along with the deputy and myself saw the animal was clearly in distress. We were able to extricate the animal from the vehicle and he was taken to the vet to get assessed.”

Though the vehicle’s passenger-side window was partially down, Ryhal said the action won’t make the interior conditions any better for animal or human.

“It’s very clear that the actions of this Good Samaritan saved this dog’s life,” she said. “Judging from the amount of time that I’ve been on scene here, this animal certainly could have succumbed to the temperatures inside of the vehicle. The owner still hasn’t come out.”

The dog’s owner eventually returned to her SUV and found she had been cited by Ryhal.

She spoke to the Pahrump Valley Times about her decision to leave her dog inside the vehicle.

“I went inside because I had a friend send me some money,” she said holding back tears. “I was only in there for five minutes. I didn’t want to leave my dog at home because he is my baby. I should have locked the doors and left the A/C running. I know that’s what I should have done. I definitely should have done that.”

Additionally, she said she’s learned a valuable and expensive lesson from her actions.

“That is my baby that they took away,” she said. “I’ve lived here for two months from Maine. I will never do this again. That was my baby, seriously. I was only in there for five minutes. I know I’m going to be fined, but I don’t have the $647 to pay for this sh*t.”

Ryhal meanwhile had a strong message for pet owners who continuously choose to take their pets along with them while running their daily errands, rather than leaving the pet at home.

“We have zero tolerance for this kind of action,” she said. “We will be citing people if we find their animals are left in inhumane conditions, especially a hot car parked in the parking lot exposed to the midday sun. It’s a $647 fine.”

Sheriff Sharon Wehrly meanwhile, bemoaned the certainty that similar incidents will occur throughout the summer.

“It’s unfortunate because we see this happen every summer and sadly, it’s going to continue to happen,” she said. “People need to understand that putting the windows down just doesn’t help because it’s just too hot outside. It would have been a life-threatening situation if this was not discovered by the Good Samaritan who reported this.”

“The barking got my attention because it was in the parking lot of Walmart and you don’t usually have dogs in the parking lot of Walmart unless they are in a car,” the Good Samaritan said. “I’m just glad the dog is OK. I had been here an hour and the owner still hadn’t come out of the store.”

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