NORFOLK, Va. - A Virginia man started recording after he noticed a dog trapped inside a hot car, but when no one arrived to help, he says he did the only thing he could think of to save the pup – he smashed out the car's window.
U.S. Army veteran Jason Minson told WTKR it was more than 80 degrees Tuesday afternoon when he saw the black Lab mix puppy trying to get cool inside a car parked near Old Dominion University in Norfolk.
He said the window was cracked about an inch, so he gave the dog water from a water bottle – and it drank two full bottles. Minson said he had called police right away to report the trapped dog, but it took them some time to respond to the area.
In a video Minson posted, he said he thought the dog was going to die.
WTKR spoke to him Wednesday, and Minson said if he came across the same situation again, he wouldn't hesitate to act.
"It's cruelty leaving a living being in conditions that hot; it's cruel," he said.
Norfolk Police said their officers can smash out a car window to rescue a dog if the circumstances call for that, but it's not clear if that extends to citizens like Minson.
"I honestly didn’t think the dog would make it long enough for the fire department to get there," he said.
The dog was taken by Animal Control officers and is doing better now in the care of animal shelter staff.
Minson, who has a Great Dane service dog named Rex, said he would never think to leave his dog in a hot vehicle, just like he would not leave one of his children in those conditions.
"They depend on us to take care of them like a child would. If you're going to be a dog owner, you have to step up to those responsibilities."
If the roles were reversed, Minson said he would hope someone would act on behalf of his dog.
"Everyone is always in a rush. Rush here, rush there, pick up kids, get groceries and we forget. I don’t know how you could, but some people forget. If I ever got out and went in the store and forgot about Rex, I would pray someone would knock my window out," Minson said.
Animal Control tells WTKR charges are pending against the dog's owner.
Norfolk Police urge anyone who sees a pet trapped inside a hot car to call 911.