Tesco workers have been slammed for allegedly refusing to call out for customers who locked their dog inside their car in sweltering 83F (28C) heat.
Staff at the supermarket in Bideford, North Devon, are said to have claimed they did not want to upset the shoppers by making an announcement about the animal.
A German Shepherd was left for half an hour in the car and could be seen panting as worried shoppers alerted staff and even tried to get into the car themselves.
A man and a woman were photographed outside the shop when they returned to their car outside the Tesco store in Bideford, North Devon, on Friday
The man allegedly became aggressive about attempts made to free the dog in the car park
A man and a woman were photographed outside the shop when they returned to their car on Friday, which saw 83F highs in Bideford, and were met by the passers-by.
The man then allegedly became aggressive about attempts to free the dog. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, leaving your dog in a hot car can be a criminal offence.
The RSPCA has advice to people in the situation, saying: ‘If you’re at a shop, venue or event ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the situation.’
The animal charity also encourages worried passers-by to take pictures, phone 999 and even break the animal out as a last resort.
The incident took place at a Tesco store in Bideford, North Devon on Friday, where the weather was recorded to have highs of 28C.
The dog was seen inside the car at a Tesco in Bideford on Friday and a report was made to staff
Julie Fay wrote on Facebook about what happened, saying: ‘So, it’s pretty hot, isn’t it? Imagine putting a fur coat on and shutting yourself in a car with an inch of air.
‘Sound fun? No, not at all, but when you are a German Shepherd sat waiting for your selfish owners, it’s less fun. Half an hour this poor animal was shut in, panting.
‘Two caring people went and showed concern to the supermarket, but they said ‘we can’t announce it as to upset the customer’. No care for the poor dog.
‘A caring customer decided to take the dog’s welfare into his own hands and try to release him when the owners turned up with nothing but anger and abuse.
‘He threatened the man and had no care whatsoever. These people should not be allowed a rat let alone a dog. Do not leave your dog in a car in this heat.’
Julie Fay wrote on Facebook about what happened, saying there was ‘no care for the poor dog’
Other users commented shaming the store for their actions. One woman wrote: ‘Tesco should be ashamed of themselves to do nothing when an animal is distressed.
Another said: ‘Supermarket wouldn’t announce it? They should have to by law.’ Julie replied to this saying: ‘No, they said straight that they couldn’t upset the customer.’
Another woman said: ‘Shame on Tesco for saying they wouldn’t make an announcement.’
And one user commented: ‘Why couldn’t Tesco just say the owner of a such and such car with the reg such and such come to customer service desk please’?
‘Tesco didn’t have to announce that they are abusing their dog to the shop if that was their problem. Although it’s good to see where Tesco stands on animal abuse in their car parks.’
Social media users criticised the staff at Tesco on Friday as well as the animals’ owners
Many also hit out at the dog owners. One user wrote: ‘Bloody lock them in a hot car and see how they like it. Bloody disgusting, don’t deserve to keep animals.’
Another added: ‘Window would have been smashed out within a second! Boils my p*** seeing this in any weather let alone 20+ degrees.’
A Tesco spokesman said: ‘As a matter of principle our stores put out announcements for the owner to return to their car if dogs are left in vehicles during hot weather.
‘We are really sorry that this did not occur on this occasion, and the store manager has spoken to colleagues to remind them of what to do in this situation.’
* Have you saved a dog from a hot car in recent days? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org *
What should you do if you see a dog locked in a car on a hot day?
The RSPCA recommends not being afraid of dialing 999 when seeing a dog in a car on a hot day and offers the following advice on what to do:
Never leave your dog alone in a car on a warm day. If you see a dog in distress in a hot car, dial 999. Many people still believe that it’s ok to leave a dog in a car on a warm day if the windows are left open or they’re parked in the shade, but the truth is, it’s still a very dangerous situation for the dog.
A car can become as hot as an oven very quickly, even when it doesn’t feel that warm. When it’s 22 degrees, in a car it can reach an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour.
What to do if you see a dog in a car on a warm day:
In an emergency, we may not be able to attend quickly enough, and with no powers of entry, we’d need police assistance at such an incident.
Don’t be afraid to dial 999, the police will inform us if animal welfare assistance is required.
Help a dog in a hot car:
- Establish the animal’s health and condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke dial 999 immediately.
- If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away or unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
- Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why. Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
Once removed, if the dog is displaying signs of heatstroke, follow our emergency first aid advice. This could mean the difference between life and death for the dog.
If the dog isn’t displaying symptoms of heatstroke:
- Establish how long the dog has been in the car. A ‘pay and display’ ticket could help.
- Make a note of the car’s registration. If the owner returns, but you still feel the situation was dangerous for the dog, you may still report the incident to the police.
- If you’re at a shop, venue or event ask the staff to make an announcement to alert the owner of the situation.
- If possible, get someone to stay with the dog to monitor their condition. If they begin to display signs of distress or heatstroke, be prepared to dial 999.
- You can also call our 24-hour cruelty line for advice on 0300 1234 999. However, if the dog’s in danger, dialing 999 should always be the first step.