We all have things to do; we’re all busy. However, that’s no excuse to leave a pet or a child locked in a hot car while you’re running errands. Fortunately, there are legal options for Samaritans who come across a child in such a situation.
For our pets, though, sometimes the law is not on their side, and that could lead to some heartbreaking scenarios.
But when one man saw a bulldog slowly succumbing to the heat inside a steaming hot car, he wasn’t about to let the law stand in the way of doing the right thing.
Charles Huggins made a sad discovery after he came out of the gym.
On May 30, Charles Huggins was leaving the gym located at Maryland Parkway and Karen Avenue in Las Vegas. There he spotted something looking at him from a car in the gym parking lot.
It was a bulldog, and it looked to be heavily panting. On closer inspection, Huggins found that the car had its windows rolled up and practically no outside air was allowed in for ventilation.
The dog was clearly suffering, so, Huggins logged onto Facebook and shot a live video. He hoped to get advice from his friends about what he should do.
“He’s inside the car,” Huggins said according to KTNV News. “It’s 90 degrees out here and somebody left their dog inside the car with all the windows rolled up on both sides.”
The heat was intense as Huggins tried multiple options to save the distressed dog.
The bulldog’s owner was nowhere to be seen, so Huggins decided to wait a while. However, after 30 minutes, there was still no sign of them.
“Minimum, most people work out an hour and a half, two hours,” Huggins told KSNV News.
His friends on Facebook told him to call 311 and report the incident. He did so, twice, but emergency personnel were nowhere in sight, either.
Huggins’ watchers then told him to go into the gym and search for the owner. He did so and even had the gym call the owner over the loudspeaker.
Still there was no one.
Huggins had to make a choice: act, or watch the dog slowly succumb to the heat.
However, when Huggins went back out to check on the dog once more, he was shocked at what he saw.
“When I went back to the car he was already laying on his side,” Huggins told KTNV News.
Time was running out, but his next move needed to be weighed carefully. Huggins had already called 311 and searched for the owner.
He could call the police again, but by the time they responded the dog might succumb to the heat. However, if Huggins broke the window to save the pet, under Nevada state law he could not only be cited, but also then be sued in civil court by the dog’s owner for damaging the car.
In Nevada, under the current law, it is only permissible for Samaritans to save children trapped in cars; pets still require official assistance.
Thinking only of the dog’s health, Huggins acted.
Fears of legal difficulties did not cause Huggins to hesitate for even a second. He grabbed a piece of asphalt that was lying nearby and smashed open one of the rear side windows.
“I made sure he was OK,” Huggins told KTNV News. “I reached in and I pet him a little bit … I did have a little bit of water left in my water bottle so I did walk over, poured it in my hand, and gave him some water.”
As fresh air entered the car, the dog’s condition improved instantly, but by that point the owner came out of the gym. Before police could arrive, though, the person got in the car and drove away.
Huggins was not charged with any offense. Instead, for his efforts in saving the dog’s life, he was acknowledged by PETA as a hero.
But for Huggins, the gratitude was not what motivated him.
“It needed to be done,” Huggins told KSNV News. “I was thinking, ‘What idiot would leave their dog in the car while they are working out with all the windows rolled up?’”