Stranger in store threatened to call cops because of my dog

I was at the checkout, all three items at uncrowded dollar store, when an irate woman accosted me, asking if I was the person who left my dog in a car.

“Well, yes, that is my dog.” BIG MISTAKE.

What followed was a lecture on dog care, dog in car care, just how wide open the windows need to be, that it was against the law to leave a dog unattended in a car, and she was going to call the police because it was against the law to leave a dog in a car, and my dog was panting. Well, there isn’t a law, yet, though one has been proposed. It would make it a misdemeanor or possibly a felony to leave a dog in a car under conditions that would endanger the life of the dog.

I have no problem with that proposed law. I do have a problem with people threatening me because they have jumped to conclusions that have no basis in fact.

My 13 yr old rescue dog has severe separation anxiety. If she can’t see me, she fears the hounds of hell will barbecue her for dinner. If I so much as I leave the room, she freaks.

So what would y’all have done? I guess it’s time to get a smartphone and take videos. Perhaps that might have shut her up. I only identified my car/dog because this lady’s first question to me was did I own the white van with puppies in it? Which I now think didn’t exist.

What to do in this situation?

There was no reasoning with her. She was way too close to me for comfort. A sumo wrestler compared to skinny me. And someone blocking my way to the door wreaks havoc with my anxiety. I feel I made a mess of it, though I doubt our rent-a-cop will be calling. Just hope I don’t meet her again.

You could have called the cops about a crazy lady harassing you in a store.

I think that’s a good idea. It’s the appropriate way to deal with crazy people in the modern world.

Ooh. My anxiety would’ve went to the moon. I’d rather not talk to peeps in a store. I am not there for a nice chat. And don’t you dare question my pet ownership. Saying that, you shouldn’t really ever leave a dog in a car in the summer. But you know your dog and how long you were gonna be. Be careful though. Next time scream at the top of your lungs and run out:)

Well what was the temperature outside? And was the car in the sun?

Is your dog NEVER home alone?

If you don’t feel you’re putting the dog’s life in danger by leaving her in the car and leaving her home is not an option (or say, doing your errands when she’s not with you) perhaps you could make a sign for your window(s) that says “I can’t stay home alone - I need to come with to feel safe! My owner is on his way right back. Thank you for your concern.”

Maybe you could get some of those window grates like K9 cops have on the back glass of the vehicle.

I tell them ‘Call the cops, the number is 911’ I’d rather talk to the cops than the crazy person.

I’m just curious. You say she freaks if you so much as leave the room and are out of sight, but she does not freak if you leave her in the car and are out of sight?

I am a long term volunteer with my local animal shelter. I am friends with our Chief Animal Control officer. The sheer number of calls they get regarding dogs in cars that result in dead or dying dogs makes me predisposed to view people who leave their dogs in their car during the summer months unfavorably.

I think the woman who approached you behaved very badly. She should have gone about it in a different way, but I understand her concern. What she should have done is called animal control and reported a dog in distress if she felt your dog was in distress. The fact that there isn’t a law doesn’t mean it is Ok to leave your dog in a car under any circumstances.

Good post. I think the OP should talk to the vet and a trainer about a better solution for the dog’s anxiety.

So you never go anywhere at all without your dog? Dogs I know with severe anxiety will destroy the car they are left in. I’m not saying she’s in the right- I don’t know what the temperature was that day. I’ve been accosted myself (in 70 degree degree weather with working dogs in a secured crate in the back of my truck) but I’ve often also seen the opposite issue where people are insisting their dog can’t be separated them no matter how uncomfortable the dog is. If your dog was open mouthed panting in the car, it’s probably not a happy camper. 13 year old dogs esp- I have one thats 11 and extremely sound sensitive but I’m still sure she’s happier in the comfort of her home than in a hot car “with me”. Almost all my dogs do nothing but sleep after the age of 12 anyways…

Again- I am very wary of do-gooders, especially if they are throwing their weight around but I’d need to know more to judge if she was truly in the complete wrong.

The woman sounds like she behaved inappropriately.

And some information so the op can make informed decisions regarding future choices, this out of the pediatric literature.

(Bolding mine.)

Do with that information what you think is appropriate.

Well said. While I wouldn’t be judgemental on the OP, I would never leave my dog in a locked car, not even for a minute, and not if the temperature were just 70°. But then again, my dog doesn’t get nervous when I leave the house, and behaves perfectly while I’m gone.

You know what is best for yourself and your dog. I highly doubt you would leave your dog in a car that would reach 120+*F

If If someone does it again tell them to go **** themself and mind their own business. Those with attitudes like that need to be put in their place. It’s usually people pretending to be tough and need to prove a point to others to mask their own shortcomings. Get back in their face and watch them cower. They’ll learn to mind their own business and the world will be a better place.

Just IMHO.

P.S. I had a dog with separation anxiety… it makes you sad and at the same time warms your heart how much they need you. Good on you!

How on earth would you know that the OP knows what is best for their dog? Considering how many dogs are mistreated, left alone all day, die in cars and are abandoned I have little faith in people in general to ‘know what is right for their dogs’.

And a dog with extreme separation anxiety needs professional help - it’s not heart warming, it’s a very unhappy dog.

A friend of mine bought one of these to keep his dogs cool while shopping, eating out etc. According to him, it will hold the car temp in the mid-seventies for 4-5 hours, even in the Texas heat.

But he finally gave up using it, due to the constant virtue-signaling by the Doggie Worriers Brigade (his name for them). He even tried putting a sign in the window with his cellphone #, along with a thermometer to show that Fido was fine. Nothing worked against the DWB, according to him.

To the OP: These people are only interested in seizing the spotlight as part of a starring role in their life’s movie about their compassion. The dogs and owners are only playing bit parts. You cannot reason with them, because you’re assuming they care about the dog.

FWIW, that behavior would have describe my long-ago Weimaraner to a tee when she was younger. Evidently, the car smells like me, and so I’m coming back. Consequently, I took the dog in the car most places, when the weather permitted. It was challenging during Texas summers. Usually, I took the dog somewhere to tire her out ahead of time, she’d then sleep near my bedroom, and I could go run errands.

Just saying, the quoted two sentences aren’t as bizarre as they’ve sounded, had I not experienced similar behavior from my dog.

It sounds like we are talking about dogs that need a comfort dog. Is that even possible?

I carry a small handheld tool in my car that is specifically designed to be swung through automobile glass safely and quickly. It’s only about 7 inches long and sits in the pocket of my door. If I would have come up on an infant in a car seat or any animal stuck in a car that was clearly showing signs of distress the very last thing I would do is going to the store and try to find the owner or the parent.

I would simply put the tool through the window, remove the child or the animal and then call the police. Not only did this adult sound like she was out of line and somewhat unstable but she did things in the wrong order if she truly perceived danger to another living thing.

I have carried this device since I was an emergency medical technician. Even though I am retired now I would have exactly zero compunction against using it.

A bit of a hijack on my part, but I find “dog people” very annoying. I define them as dog owners who are really really into their dogs, and treat them better than people. Here’s what I find interesting about them:

  1. If you are (also) a dog owner, they hate you. Because no matter how well you treat your dog, it’s not good enough for them; you are feeding your dog the wrong food, you are taking it to the wrong vet, you’re not training it correctly, you are not treating it right, you’re not spending enough time with it, etc.

  2. If you are not a dog owner, they think you do not have a dog because you hate dogs. “What’s wrong? You don’t like dogs?” is the look they give you.

This is total bullshit. For every person like your friend, there are 2839482718 who will endanger their dog and not give a shit. Sure, some people are like you describe, just as in every other aspect of life, but gimme a break.

The fact that the dog was reportedly panting in the car is what I find worrisome.

None of us (including the interloper) have any way of knowing if the dog was fine or was in real danger. But it was alarming enough to an outsider who was present.

I’m leaning towards NOT leaving your dog in a hot car in hot summer weather, and not crying about it when a stranger lets you know how alarming the situation appears.