With summer officially less than two weeks away, sheriff's officials are reminding pet owners not to leave their animals in hot cars after rescuing a small dog that was left in a car in a Santa Clarita parking lot on Saturday, authorities said.
The incident unfolded about 6 p.m. in the parking lot of a Walmart store at 26471 Carl Boyer Drive, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Brian Shreves said.
Deputies responded after a small dog was spotted locked in a Toyota Corolla as outside temperatures were in the 80s, officials said. Car interiors can easily climb to much higher temperatures than the outside air.
The deputies summoned a tow truck to open the vehicle, removed the dog and offered the parched pup a drink of water, officials said.
A man and woman emerged from the store and returned to the car about an hour after deputies arrived, Shreves said. They told deputies they didn't believe they had been gone that long.
The dog was returned and the owners were not cited or arrested on the spot, although animal control officials will be notified of the incident, Shreves said.
California enacted a so-called "Right to Rescue" law in 2016, which authorized citizens to break a vehicle's window, if necessary, to rescue an animal from a hot vehicle provided the vehicle cannot be opened without force, it appears the animal is in distress with heat-related symptoms and the citizens notify law enforcement of the situation and remain with the animal until deputies or police arrive.