Nobody likes the taste of their own medicine. One woman who knows this better than most is Shelly Nicholas of New Mexico, who left her dog in a hot, locked car in a Bullocks parking lot and was luckily busted for doing so.
It’s heartwarming to see law enforcement professionals taking animal welfare seriously, and for Officer Vincent Kreischer, it was a no-brainer. On duty one day and walking through a Bullocks parking lot, Kreischer clocked the outside temperature—a whopping 90 degrees Fahrenheit (approx. 32 degrees Celsius)—before noticing a locked car with one seriously overheating occupant: a family’s dog. In this day and age, with as much information as there is about pet safety and best practice, it’s nothing short of astounding that a dog would be left inside a hot, locked car with no ventilation.
He decided to do something about it. As Nicholas, the owner of the vehicle, approached her car after getting what she needed from the store, Kreischer confronted her. “This is your truck? Over 90 degrees, you keep a dog with no ventilation in there?” the officer is heard to say in a video caught by his lapel camera and later broadcast on KOB 4. Nicholas claimed to have only left her dog alone inside the vehicle for 10 minutes, but Kreischer had the perfect comeback.
He used a chart to estimate the temperature inside a parked, locked car that day. The verdict? After 10 minutes, the chart hit a perilous 114 degrees. According to PETA, animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke in as little as 15 minutes, so even if Nicholas’s shopping time estimate was correct, her dog was in trouble.
However, when Kreischer confronted Nicholas, she became combative, which ended up being her second mistake. In response to her negative attitude, Kreischer decided to serve Nicholas a dose of her very own medicine. He suggested that if she believed the interior temperature of the car was acceptable for her dog, then she should sit inside the car alongside her boyfriend and child with the doors closed, windows rolled up, and engine turned off, while he wrote her a ticket.
Predictably, Nicholas protested. Kreischer’s point was made.
“From the time that I reported on the scene to the time that I left the scene was a total of 12 minutes,” Kreischer later elaborated. “She was very callous and carefree about it.” And his challenge to Nicholas, the officer asserted, was not aggressive. “Since it’s not hot and it’s cool, sit in the car and wait,” was all he said.
Extraordinarily, it was Nicholas who reached out to KOB 4 to ask them to investigate her claim that Kreischer was “abusive.” At the time of broadcast, however, Nicholas claimed that she had a school test and was unavailable for comment. Nicholas was written a misdemeanor animal cruelty citation after her sweltering parking lot encounter with the diligent cop, and we can only hope that her mistake will serve as an example to dog owners everywhere.
As for Officer Kreischer and his rather genius approach to serving justice, his takeaway message was simple but vital: folks should think before they leave pets in the car even if it seems like only a few moments.