By Mike Dello Stritto

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Arden Fair Mall officials say pet owners are leaving their pets inside their vehicles while shopping, despite recent temperatures that have jumped well into triple digits, and newly released surveillance video shows how desperate pets become when trapped inside a broiling vehicle.

Surveillance cameras showed a German Shepherd thrashing around inside a silver sedan parked under the blistering midday sun Tuesday, when high temperatures in the Sacramento area were recorded at 102 degrees. Temperatures inside the car would have risen above 120 degrees within just a few minutes, authorities said.

The helpless dog, showing signs of extreme stress, shoved its head through a partially-opened window and desperately tried to squeeze through the small space.

The video shows the exhausted dog hanging its head out the window and breathing heavily within just a few minutes.

“You can see by him panting and drooling that he’s in need of water,” said Arden Fair Mall security director Steve Reed.

The pet’s owner walked back to his car, shopping bags in hand, and drove away before animal control officers arrived.

Two other pet owners left two Schnauzers inside their sedan at about 2:00 p.m. the same day, only cracking the sunroof open slightly to let air in. Mall security officers used surveillance footage to track down the couple inside the mall and tell them that authorities were on their way to force open the car.

The two protested that they had only been shopping for five minutes, “but they failed to realize we tracked them on camera, and they were in there for 30 minutes,” Reed said.

When told that police officers and fire crews were on their way to the scene, the two tried to sprint to their car. Emergency crews had already saved the two dogs before they arrived.

“You know, this is the season children will be left in cars. We’ve had that happen before,” Reed said. “It doesn’t take that long for there to be a fatality.”

The dog owners in both incidents won’t face any charges. Mall security officers have no authority to detain drivers on animal cruelty charges, and due to budget cuts, animal control officers could not respond to the incidents fast enough to catch the pet owners in the act.

Comments (39)
  1. DED says:

    If a convenience store or a bank is robbed, does the DA forego prosecution because a police officer was not standing at the counter to “catch them in the act”? No – They use the store’s or the bank’s SURVEILANCE VIDEO as evidence. What is the difference for Animal Control??

  2. Cindy says:

    Make these idiots pictures public. Then I bet they’d think twice!!!!!!!

  3. VRose says:

    Excuse me, I am a liberal (from Oregon) and have never, would never leave an animal in a car. What does a person’s political affiliation have ANYTHING to do with how they care for their animal?!

  4. mh says:


  5. sherma says:

    If I had seen that, I know I would have busted the window first and then called the police. Yes, I would be arrested! But I would be willing to take the hit just to help that dog. Especially when the animal control could not come because there was no money to pay for them to come.

    1. Zora says:

      It’s not illegal to rescue someone, human or animal, from dying in a hot car by breaking in. Most states won’t press charges in that case if you’re just trying to save someone.

      1. Genevieve Powell says:

        for sure!!!! I would break the dam window and take that dog!!! insenstive dumb ass people!!! you have no freaking brains!!! you should lose the dogs and your dam kids!!! i am sure they will be next!!

  6. Penny says:

    I don’t know WHY people have to take their dogs in the car to the shopping mall or anywhere else, except a dog park or for them to run & play. If you can’t treat your dog the way it deserves, then why do they have one!

  7. Jan Fredericks says:

    don’t wait for animal control or a cop. If they get to the car before they do, leave a note for them to see or tell them.


    anyone who leaves a dog in a hot car should be punished with a hairy suit, same temperature, and should sit (with cameras on them) for the same time frame the dog was left in the car. Judges Here This!!!

  9. Chris Beam says:

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? HOW CAN PEOPLE BE SOME STUPID!!! I would have broken the window out in a heartbeat AND taken the dog with me!!!!!!!

  10. applesnbananas says:

    I’ll never understand why people think their dog will enjoy sitting in a hot car more than being at home in non-lethal temperatures with a comfy bed and toys. Sure, many dogs love going for a car ride, but I’m sure they’d rather be cooped up at home while you’re gone than stuck in a hot car with nothing to do but get heat stressed. If you can’t sit in the car without getting out or turning on the AC what makes you think your dog will be okay?

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