A golden Labrador retriever left in a car in 90-degree heat Friday afternoon was saved by a Human Society officer who broke out a window after a passerby noticed the animal suffering, authorities said.
The dog had been left unattended in the car in the parking lot outside the stores in the Southgate shopping center off South Nevada Avenue. It was showing signs of heat exhaustion — red distended tongue and gums, and excessive salivating — when it was saved, according to Erica Meyer, spokeswoman for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
An unidentified caller reported that the dog had been left in the car at 1:37 p.m. and the Humane Society officer freed it around 2 p.m., removing it from the car and putting it into an air-conditioned vehicle.
The owner, who did not return from a nearby restaurant until around 3 p.m, was cited for two counts of animal cruelty, Meyer said.
The owner had no prior history of animal abuse, so the dog, which had recovered by then,was returned to her.
The Humane Society said the incident is a reminder to pet owners to leave their pets at home when temperatures are in the 80s or higher. A car left out in the sun on a hot summer’ day can reach 120 degrees in just 30 minutes, according to the Humane Society. Although dogs have naturally higher body temperatures than humans, they can only withstand heat for a short period of time before their bodies begin to shut down.