WATCH: A well-known actress is the latest pet owner to be alerted to the dangers of leaving a dog in a car on a hot day. Catherine Urquhart reports.
One day after a video surfaced of a man lashing out at a woman for confronting him about leaving his dog in a hot car, another man approached a woman in West Vancouver today after noticing a dog in the car.
She had parked her car in the 1800-block of Marine Drive.
It turns out the woman was actress Jennifer Beals, who is known for her breakout role in the iconic 80s film Flashdance and the current television drama, Proof, which films in Vancouver.
Concerned resident Dustin Goetz, who approached Beals as she returned to the car, said this is the second time he has seen a dog sitting in a hot car this year.
Beals indicated it’s fine to leave a dog in a car in Vancouver’s Dunbar neighbourhood. “It’s fine OK” she said. “Thank you.”
Goetz said he decided to report it to the West Vancouver Police.
“There was other people also taking pictures and we discussed that yes, that dog was panting, it was in a hot car and you know, everyone has their own opinion on what is acceptable and what’s not,” he said. “And I just feel that we need to set something in stone regarding what an acceptable temperature is for a dog to sit inside of a vehicle. Not just a dog, but any animal.”
Gotez said the dog, in his opinion, looked lethargic. “It’s almost angering at this point,” he said. “Everyone has the same excuse, just five minutes.”
He said Beals didn’t even look to see if the dog was in distress. “She was maybe more concerned with her dry cleaning,” he said.
WATCH: Dustin Goetz speaks out:
Marcie Moriarty of the BC SPCA was perplexed by Beals’ response, saying “the sun shines in Dunbar just as much as it shines everywhere else.”
The window of the car was lowered a few centimetres, but Moriarty said it probably wasn’t enough to keep the German Shepherd-type dog cool.
“In this temperature, I don’t think that would necessarily create the type of cooling effect that would ever be sufficient,” she said.
Beals responded to Global News saying, ““I have loved dogs my whole life. They’ve been in my life since the day I was born. Every dog I’ve had has been a rescue. I would never ever jeopardize an animal’s safety. Ever. I’ve worked with dogs in obedience, agility and shepherding training. I am not only a loving dog owner but a discerning one.”
She went on to say the weather was cool in the morning of the incident.
“I, and others, were wearing jackets. I rolled all four windows down and left the car for five minutes to pick up laundry, my car visible to me the entire time,” Beals said.
“I wondered why two people were congregated by my car taking pictures of my girl. Proud mama thought it was because she’s so gorgeous. While I appreciate their vigilance and what must have felt like courage on their part, they were barking up the wrong tree.”
WATCH: Marcie Moriarty from the BC SPCA has advice for what to do if you see a dog in a hot car
The RCMP advises to never leave pets or children in parked vehicles. On an average summer day, the inside of a parked vehicle can reach a dangerously high temperature of over 38 degrees Celsius in minutes, even if parked in a shaded area with windows partly open. Even 10 minutes can be too long for a dog or a child inside to withstand the heat.
If you see a pet or a child in distress inside a parked vehicle call 9-1-1 immediately.
Moriarty says she does understand peoples’ concern about seeing a dog in a car that appears to be in distress.
She says the best thing to do is take down the licence plate number and enter the local stores to try and find the owner first, before calling the authorities.
What would you do in this situation if you saw a dog in a car? Would you say something to the person when they returned to the vehicle?