Dog rescue or criminal act?

Austin Novakowski and Gord Cleeton with the dog they rescued from a hot car on May 14. - Chelsea Grainger/Observer
Austin Novakowski and Gord Cleeton with the dog they rescued from a hot car on May 14.
— image credit: Chelsea Grainger/Observer

An act of rescue  May 14 had the potential to turn into criminal charges.

After seeing a dog frantic and barking in an unattended vehicle in 25-degree weather, Gord Cleeton and his wife Jan decided to do something about it.

With the help of city employees Craig Boudreau and Austin Novakowski, the Cleetons discovered that the passenger side door of the vehicle was left unlocked, and they let the dog out.

They waited with the dog for over an hour for the owner to return. However, Boudreau was later notified that letting the dog out of the vehicle was technically considered breaking and entering and they could have been charged.

“People should absolutely call the RCMP or SPCA if they see a dog in distress in a hot car,” said Lorie Chortyk, general manager of community relations for the BC SPCA. “It is illegal for individuals to break into a car.”

Chortyk said that the BC SPCA gets hundreds of emergency calls to rescue dogs whose lives are endangered due to being left in hot cars.

“We encourage people to call for help and if they are in a store parking lot to see if the manager can make an announcement calling for the owner to return.”



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