Owner charged after puppy is left in hot car for nearly three hours

A puppy was rescued by police after spending nearly three hours in a car. (York Regional Police Service)

Charges have been laid after a woman left her puppy in a hot car for nearly three hours while she was inside a Toronto-area mall.

York Regional Police say they were called to Vaughan Mills Mall parking lot after a concerned citizen called about a dog in distress.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found a small dog inside a white Audi sedan. Police said the dog was lethargic, panting heavily and had no water.

“The officer was able to open the car door using a baton through a small opening in the vehicle’s sunroof,” police said in a news release issued Tuesday. “The dog was placed in the back of an air-conditioned police cruiser and was given water.”

Investigators say that security video shows the dog had been left in the vehicle for nearly three hours. It was about 29 C at the time, they said.

The owner, a 20-year-old Toronto woman, has been charged with cause animal to be in distress under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act.

In the news release, police warned owners never to leave pets unattended in a vehicle.

“The interior of a vehicle can heat up quickly, reaching temperatures far exceeding the outside air,” they said. “Pets can become overheated and dehydrated, resulting in serious injury or death. If you see a pet in a hot car and it appears to be in distress, call 911.”