vaughan mills

Police charge Vaughan Mills shopper for leaving her dog in sweltering car for hours

Whether it's waiting in lines for hours to get into HomeSense or braving parking lots and crowds worse than Black Friday at malls,  we've all witnessed the bonkers extents to which people in Ontario will go just to get their shop on at newly-reopened stores after lockdown restrictions ease.

As silly as some of these customers will seem, none tops one Toronto woman who made the completely mindless and just plain inhumane decision to tote her dog along with her on a visit to Vaughan Mills — and left the animal in her hot car for hours.

On the first day that malls opened their doors again last week, York Regional Police responded to a call from a concerned citizen who cited a distressed-looking puppy locked the backseat of an Audi parked in the lot of the notoriously-busy shopping centre.

The temperature that day was around 29 C but even hotter with the humidity, consistent with the season and Southern Ontario's current heat wave.

Officers carefully opened the vehicle through a crack in the sunroof and rescued the fluffy little pooch, who at that point was lethargic, extremely thirsty and panting heavily. They were brought to the safety of an air conditioned police cruiser and given some water.

The 20-year-old owner finally returned after nearly three hours total (as revealed by security footage), and is now charged with Cause Animal to be in Distress, which falls under the Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act.

Though it's hard to imagine that any adult would lack the common sense to need a refresher, YRP has reiterated in a statement on the matter that pet owners should never under any circumstances leave any living thing unattended in a car, especially on extremely hot or extremely cold days.

As we all well know, the interior of a car can rapidly become far hotter than outside when left in the sun, and any animal or person left inside for any length of time is at serious risk of negative health outcomes including death.

Anyone who sees an animal locked in a car this season is advised to call 911, not smash the window and save the critter, as tempting as that may be (and as much as the owner would deserve it) — as The Weather Network notes, "it is technically illegal to break into a car whether it be smashing a window or playing with the lock."

Lead photo by

York Regional Police


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