Pictures of dogs in car heats up discussion in Digby

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on July 11, 2014

A few pictures on Facebook of two dogs sitting in a car on a hot day have gotten the people in the Digby area worked up and talking about animal welfare and the pros and cons of social media.

Dana Delaney posted four pictures July 10 on the Digby Courier Facebook group. The first picture showed two small dogs sitting on the backseat of car with the windows rolled down in a Conway parking lot.

“These two dogs were left in a car and it was 27 degrees out,” wrote Delaney in her post. “They didn't have any water that I seen. I was in the store for 15 minutes.

“I told the cashier, and the manager at the service desk said it was up to me to phone the cops. I called 911 and gave them all the info I had.”

Delaney said she did not have time to wait and see if the police arrived or how long the dog owners were away from the car.

The pictures and ensuing discussion  - within 24 hours, there were more than 300 comments on the post  - follow news the Nova Scotia government is considering “substantial fines” for people leaving their dogs in hot cars.

Courier staff deleted two pictures, one showing the car’s licence plate and another showing the whole car but offering no information about the dogs' condition or situation. Several commenters called for the pictures and whole discussion to be deleted.

One Facebook reader in New Brunswick even carried out his own experiment and sent a video to the Courier.

A few of the comments from the Facebook page:

Sandra Thomas: It looks as though them dogs are very comfortable. There is no signs of distress from these pictures. The windows are down, dogs are able to get out with no problems. In respect of the owner, maybe they had to take the dogs out, maybe they were getting water. All other means of making dogs comfortable are met. Myself as a dog owner and love my dog, I would be terribly upset with this public scrutiny on Facebook without even a chance to protect myself before someone was taking pics of my dog, car and licence plate to advertise on Facebook. I think this has gone too far. I dunno, my opinion, but the owners do not deserve to be slashed like this.

Jessica Daniels: I like to take my dog in the car, but on hot days I leave him home. I kind of feel bad for these dogs because it was really hot out today.

Travis Hogan: We know people are doing it. There are also people just waiting for someone to leave their dogs in a car so they can call the police no matter how long they are gone.

Laurie Manzer: Actually Dana Delaney did what any responsible person should do, Assess the situation, make a decision and let the police, who by the way are paid and equipped to handle these things, and not take the law in her own hands. Everyone here will interpret things differently and act according to their experiences. I am glad to see there is no big city mentality down in Digby.

Charlene King: Dana, you did the right thing by calling the RCMP. The dogs do look comfortable, but that could change very quickly. I just hope that the RCMP got there in time and we don't hear about two dogs dying in a Digby parking lot on the news tonight.

Alma Milner: I'm glad my vet isn't in Digby, wouldn't want anyone taking pictures of my vehicle while I got things for my dog or pick up a few things while in the area. Not saying these people were at the vet before or after but wow, fact before posting would have been good. Feel bad for those people being humiliated like this.

jriley@digbycourier.ca