A young woman who helped rescue a dog left in a van in hot weather at Cultus Lake on Thursday is upset the owner had the animal returned to him.
Firefighters and RCMP were called to the scene of the parking lot behind the Cultus Lake Waterpark just after 3 p.m. on July 5 and broke the window of a mini-van to rescue the large chihuahua mix.
The temperature at the time was listed as about 29 C, but a reading on a vehicle in the area said 33 C.
The woman who works in the area, but who asked not to be named, said she saw the dog in the mini-van at around 2 p.m. She thought maybe someone had just gone briefly and would be back so she set a timer for 10 minutes, but still no one returned. The she set another one for 20 minutes, but still nothing.
So she went to the water park staff who told her the driver of the van had been kicked out of the parking lot at 11:30 a.m. because he was coming out every hour from 9:30 a.m. on to check on the dog.
“They told him ‘you cannot leave your dog in the car, there is a doggie day care down the road. That’s the only way you are allowed back in the park,’” she said.
Instead of taking the dog to the daycare, the driver of the vehicle, who said he lives in Surrey, drove around the back of the water park to the public parking lot.
“So the dog wasn’t checked from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.” the woman said.
After speaking with staff she called the non-emergency line, and firefighters and an officer were dispatched.
“The dog at that point had defecated and was laying in its own stuff,” she said.
They broke a window on the van to get the dog out, but that’s when things turned a bit crazy. The dog got out and ran into the water park.
“So eight firefighters, two cops, me and half the water park staff were chasing this dog for 25 minutes.”
The plan at that point was to transport the dog to the SPCA, but because it closes at 4 p.m., it was concluded it was too late.
The woman said she offered to take the dog and bring it to the SPCA in the morning, but instead it was returned to the owner.
“I was really mad,” she said. “The guy did not even ask if the dog was OK. He just bitched about his window being broken.”
By June 20, the BC SPCA had received 400 reports of dogs left in hot cars so far this year.
• READ MORE: If you see a dog in a hot car, don’t break in: SPCA