TESCO workers have been slammed for refusing to call out for customers who locked their dog inside their car in sweltering 28 degrees heat (82.4F).
The supermarket have been shamed after accusations that staff members didn’t want to upset the customers by calling for them just for the sake of the dog’s health.
A German Shepherd was left for half an hour inside the car panting, whilst 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 and were met by the worried passers-by.
The man then became aggressive about attempts being made to free the dog.
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, leaving your dog in a hot car can be considered a criminal offence.
Tesco have since apologised.
The RSPCA offer clear guidelines of what to do in this situation, one of which is: ‘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 encourage worried passers-by are also to take pictures, phone 999 and even break the animal out as a last resort.
This incident took place at a Tesco store in Bideford, North Devon on Friday, where the weather was recorded to have highs of 28 degrees.
Julie Fay posted to Facebook to raise awareness about what happened writing: “So it’s pretty hot isn’t it? Imagine putting a fur coat on and shutting yourself in a car with an inch or 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 dogs 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.”
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 comment saying: “No they said straight that they couldn’t upset the customer. How awful is that?”
Another woman said: “Shame on Tesco for saying they wouldn’t make an announcement.”
Another 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.”
Many also hit out at the irresponsible 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.”
Adam Hotson wrote: “Window would have been smashed out within a second! Boils my p*** seeing this in any weather let along 20+ degrees.”
A spokesman for Tesco today apologised for the failure to call the customers.
He 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.”
The RSPCA recommend not being afraid of dialing 999 when seeing a dog in a car on a hot day and offer the following guidelines on what to do:
- 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.