Two dogs died on Tuesday afternoon (July 11) after being left inside a locked car parked in the full glare of the sun outside Strada shopping in Odivelas, Lisbon.
“They barked, howled and were scratching their paws against the doors and windows,” animal association Bigodes Fofos wrote on its Facebook page.
By the time owners returned, one of the dogs (a Labrador) was already dead while the other (German Shepherd) was barely breathing. It died shortly afterwards, despite desperate attempts by witnesses to revive it and give it water.
One of the owners apparently started crying and clinging to the dogs when he realised what had happened.
According to Correio da Manhã tabloid, an eye-witness has filed a complaint with PSP police.
Animal associations are now using the tragic incident to warn owners against leaving pets in closed cars without shade, especially now that the weather is so hot.
By coincidence, consumer watchdog DECO published an online article yesterday explaining “what to do if you find animals trapped inside a car with the windows closed”.
The short answer is “call police”.
“Only in extreme cases – for example, if it is obvious that police won’t arrive in time to save the animal – can car windows be broken. Otherwise, it can be considered a crime punishable with a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years,” DECO warns, stressing owners should leave their pets at home if they know they are driving somewhere where their animals cannot accompany them.
As the DECO explains, pet animals in Portugal now have a legal right to protection.