Every summer brings an onslaught of dogs dying in hot cars. On July 27, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in San Antonio, Texas announced Deputy Steve Benoy has been placed on 10 days of administrative leave after two police dogs died in a hot SUV.
Allegedly the officer parked the department vehicle at his home on Tuesday and went out for the evening; forgetting the dogs were still in the SUV. He found their lifeless bodies on Wednesday morning.
This story is especially tragic because K9s are considered an officer’s partner and partners put their trust in each other. Police are responsible for upholding the law, and when they themselves violate the law, they violate the trust of the public.
People make mistakes and it’s heartbreaking when these things happen. The deputy responsible for the welfare of the dogs is a 23-year veteran with a clean record. Law enforcement dogs have a strong bond with their handlers and nowhere is there a better example of serving as man’s best friend.
How could he forget the dogs is a valid question? Officer Benoy is likely asking himself the same question and I imagine he is grieving. While the sheriff’s department investigates this tragic incident, let us think about our own actions.
People routinely take their pets on errands and leave the animals in the car. Some do it out of habit and others will offer the excuse, “He gets upset when I leave him at home.”
In almost every incident where a dog has died in a hot car, the owner has claimed they were gone only a few minutes. In some cases, security cameras have shown the animals were left unattended for as long as two hours.
Pet owners have been known to ‘stop by’ a friend’s house and leave their dog in the car with the AC running. This is not a sure safety measure. Time passes more quickly than we realize and a five-minute stop can unconsciously drag on. Depending on the outside temperature, the compressor can overheat and shut off; leaving your pet baking in an oven.
Dogs are more sensitive to heat than humans so remember, if you feel hot, your dog feels hotter. If you have trouble comprehending this fact, try sitting in the car with your pet and the windows rolled up. Like your dog, you won’t last long.
We live in a fast-paced society that encourages multi-tasking and squeezing as much as we can into each day. We phone, email, text and peruse the Internet; all in addition to the usual activities of daily life such as our job, grocery shopping, meals, raising children, etc. Life is rush, rush, rush; this often leads to distraction and, sometimes, fatal consequences. Even parents have been known to overlook their children in the back seat.
Slow down and focus on the moment, as it may save a life.