A Southern California man was arrested after police said he left a 3-year-old Husky puppy with its mouth taped shut inside a locked car and went gambling on a sweltering day in Las Vegas.
The dog was in the car, parked on the top floor of a Bellagio hotel parking garage, for about two hours on the afternoon of July 20, when temperatures reached 113 degrees. The dog was left without food, water or air conditioning.
Someone notified casino-hotel security about the dog. They helped it out through the SUV’s open sunroof and called police.
Video from Las Vegas police showed the panting husky cooling down in the seat of a SUV and officers taking the vehicle’s owner into custody.
“Do you realize how hot it is outside?” an officer asked the 50-year-old Corona Del Mar man. “You had the vehicle off, windows up, and you had tape around your dog’s mouth.”
The dog was brought to animal control for medical treatment, police said. Details about the dog’s condition were not immediately available.
Temperatures soar inside a car, whether a window is left open or not, causing animals to overheat. On an 85-degree day, for example, temperatures inside a car can reach 120 degrees, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Many states, including California and Nevada, and local governments have laws that prohibit leaving an animal unattended in a car in dangerous conditions like hot days.
In California, changes were made to the law in 2016 that allow a person to take reasonable steps necessary to remove an animal from inside a locked hot car if that animal appears to be in immediate danger. The law protects people who intervene from criminal liability for actions that are taken in good faith.
In Nevada, certain individuals, such as law enforcement officers, are allowed to use any force necessary and reasonable under dangerous conditions to remove an animal from a hot car.