The Chatham County law states it is illegal to leave an animal in a vehicle with no ventilation. This is in Chapter 22 section 141 within the code and it reads like this:
“§22-141 Animal Confinement and Left Unattended in Parked Car. It shall be unlawful to leave an animal unattended in a parked vehicle without proper ventilation to prevent the animal from suffering physical distress from dangerous temperatures, lack of food or lack of water. Chatham County Animal Control or any other law enforcement shall take such action as is necessary including entry of the vehicle by any means to remove an animal from such jeopardy and may impound said animal and secure medical treatment for said animal as needed at the owner’s expense.”
So why do people still leave their pets in a vehicle with the windows rolled up? Maybe most do not know it is illegal or maybe they just do not realize how hot a vehicle gets inside with the windows up in the summer. I don’t normally write personal pieces but this was a personal experience Friday April 29th, that people need to hear.
I was at the Wells Fargo Bank out at the Landings on Friday afternoon with my son. We were about to utilize the ATM but when getting out of my vehicle I noticed a very large, older Golden Retriever. I then began to look around at all the windows and to my disbelief they were all closed. Then I listened to see if the car was running, but again nothing. My eyes went back to the dog which was panting very hard and appeared to be very old. He or she showed the signs of old age with its white fur surrounding its eyes and full muzzle. The dog could hardly sit up and just flopped back down. I was in complete disgust for the person that did this. I then noticed a Savannah-Chatham County Metro Police Dept van in the parking lot.
I entered the bank and one of the ladies came to ask me what I needed. I explained the situation and demanded her to get the officer to handle the situation. She informed me that she would need to ask her supervisor what to do. The supervisor of the bank then came walking over to me. She explained that she did not know if the officer was there for personal or business banking needs and she could not get him. I asked her again to please go get him or her because since they took an oath to uphold the law, this means on-duty or off. The officer needs to handle this situation; the dog owner is breaking the law.
Again I was told no. I was told by the bank manager that I would need to call 911. I was furious to her answer and told her I would file a complaint to her manager for this. I walked outside and started calling 911. A bank patron noticed what I was doing and she said I was a good person for doing this and it was horrible. The dispatcher at 911 said they would get an officer out there as quickly as they could. I asked if they could get in touch with the officer at the bank and I would gladly provide the tag number for them to know which officer it was. They informed me that would not work and they could not do that. Now about 20 minutes have passed since I first got there and this poor elderly dog is in the locked up car with no air.
Finally an elderly man came out with the assistance of two bank employee’s or maybe he was being escorted out due to me still being there and raising so much commotion before hand to the manager. Either way I asked him if he knew it was against the law to do that to his dog. He just replied, “I take good care of my dog.” I told him that by leaving him in the car with the windows rolled up and no air that it was not taking “good” care of him at all. That if he did this again he will possibly return to a dead dog, and that would not be taking “good” care of him. Then he just looked me straight in the face and asked me if I was done with my speech? I was appalled but then informed him that I had only begun.
After a few more minutes of a verbal lashing about how to properly take care of a dog and if he feels the need to bring the dog and leave it in the car, that he needs to roll the windows down half way or all the way to allow the dog sufficient air. Then the bank employee’s that were on the steps actually came down to apologize for me. I told them they were no better than him. They are not to apologize for me. They should have never apologized to a man that broke the law. The bank manager should have done the right thing and asked for the assistance of the officer in their building. There are so many things wrong with this entire situation, but one thing I did get from this; People just do not care about the life of an animal. Now if that would have been a baby, that manager would have gone to get the officer. I’m also sure if it was a baby and people saw it and voiced their opinion of the bad parent then the bank employee’s would not have apologize to the bad parent for the outbursts of the patrons. But here again, it is only an animal.
Is an animal life easier to spare? Is only a human life what matters to most? I don’t feel that is so, but with the way things were handled that day, I just don’t know. With this, I refuse to utilize that bank on the Landings and I will be filling a complaint with Wells Fargo about the situation. An animal life needs to not be taken lightly. They cannot talk; they cannot let us know it is too hot. We have to be their voice. To the man that did this in your dark grey Jaguar car, maybe your age got the better of you that day and you may not have fully understood what you did, but I surely hope you will think about it next time. Hopefully that poor fur-baby will not pay the price one day.
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