Dog Rescued After Being Locked In Stifling Car For Hours
Tuesday July 31, 2007
It's the kind of stupid and senseless action that has no excuse. Toronto Humane Society officials were forced to break in a car window Tuesday afternoon to rescue a dog left sweltering in an oven-like car. Investigators were called to a parking lot in the King and Jameson area around 2pm where they were confronted with the four-legged friend in an obviously dangerous condition. It's believed he'd been sealed in a locked up car with no windows open for several hours. The temperature inside the vehicle had reached in excess of 70C. (175 degees F)
Cruelty investigator Tre Smith was sure the dog was near death and didn't have time to wait for the owners to return. So without hesitating, he broke open the window to reach the limp animal. "I could see through this window and there's a large breed Rottweiler, about 110 pounds, slumped over the back seat with his legs up and a blank stare forward, death stare we call it, foaming from the mouth and he was non-responsive. So I immediately smashed the window and opened the car doors and dragged the dog out and brought it onto the pavement."
Bystanders came by with buckets of cold water and poured them on the dog, hoping to revive him. Andrew McGowan was one of them. "He was laying right here, and we were pouring water on it slowly, making sure it was still stimulated," he remembers.
Veterinarians tended to the dog, which was unresponsive as he was rushed to THS headquarters on River St. and given oxygen and IV on arrival. Officials say it's too soon to know if the animal suffered brain damage and they'll be watching him carefully for at least the next week. But so far, the signs are better than they'd dared to hope.
But this sad story doesn't end there. When the owner finally emerged after hearing his car alarm go off, Smith managed to handcuff him to the vehicle while police were called. The accused, who will likely be charged with cruelty to animals, also apparently suffered for his alleged actions.
It appears an enraged witness may have attacked him as he was stuck shackled to his car and he was bleeding when officers arrived to take him away. Smith insists he had no choice but to leave the suspect where he was. "The police hadn't got here just yet but they were almost here, and I had to leave because the dog was non-responsive, had stopped breathing and I had to stimulate the dog just to bring him back. So I had to leave for the life of the dog."
Charges against the person who inflicted the beating may be pending.
Humane Society officials say it's a perfect reminder that if it's too hot for you, it's too hot for them. And dogs, cats or any pet should never be left in a car during the summer heat, even for a few minutes. "This happens all the time," Smith complains. "There's ten or fifteen calls a day of people leaving animals in cars. So do us all a favour and your animal and yourself. Leave your animals at home."Rally Planned To Support Suspended Humane Society Inspector
Tuesday August 14, 2007
CityNews.ca Staff <--click me to see video
To animal lovers, activists, and thousands of everyday people who have offered their support, Toronto Humane Society inspector Tre Smith is a hero.
After all, if it weren't for his brave actions on July 31st, a Rottweiller named Cyrus almost certainly would have perished in the sweltering car his owner locked him in. But Smith arrived on the scene and didn't hesitate to smash the car's window and pull the dog, which was hovering near death, out of the vehicle where he could begin his valiant attempt to save its life. But in the confusion that followed, Smith had to make a tough choice. The dog's owner arrived on the scene, and according to Smith, became confrontational. Smith knew he had only seconds to spare if he hoped to save Cyrus, and chose to cuff the dog's owner and leave the scene to attend to the animal. While he was gone, the man became a sitting duck for angry bystanders, and was allegedly assaulted.
Two weeks later, the Ontario SPCA suspended Smith's agent license pending an internal review. He can still work at the Humane Society, but can't investigate animal cruelty cases.
Smith was dumfounded by the decision, and so were his supporters, who have organized a rally on Wednesday in honour of their hero.
In the meantime, Smith is still trying to come to terms with what's transpired.
"To be honest with you, I'm not sure (why I was suspended). I really don't know," he told Ann Rohmer during Animal House Calls on Tuesday. "I received an e-mail sent out to every O.S.P.C.A. member across the province and alerting them to the fact that a Toronto Humane Society agent has been suspended due to his actions on July 31st, that's pretty much where it ended."
"I'm absolutely in the dark," he adds. "From what I understand they've hired an independent person, a retired O.P.P. constable, to look into the events on that day."
And while his future may be uncertain, Smith is sure of one thing --- he has no regrets about his past. In the end, Cyrus was saved, and to Smith, that's all that matters.
"When we brought him into the clinic we were surprised he was going to last the night and fortunately he did and he's thrived and got a lot better, (but) he'll never be the same dog he was before this incident.
"They haven't actually given him a final diagnosis but they're definitely seeing mild brain damage, his attention span isn't the same. He doesn't always respond to his name. I've been told by the vets that he is suffering from mild brain damage."
According to Smith, timing was everything, and if he'd been delayed dealing with the owner, the dog would have died.
"I don't think he could have survived any longer. He was seconds if not milliseconds away from crossing over. He had already released himself which is a tell tale sign that the organs are shutting down."
"I've been to hundreds of dog and car calls and you always prepare yourself (but) that was one of the most horrible things I've seen to date, seeing this beautiful Rottweiler slumped over the backseat gasping for his last bit of air. There's a lot going on. Emotions run deep when that happens but you have to keep them under control and remember that you're there to save and an animal's life."
Tre Smith Rally:
Starts at Toronto Humane Society
11 River St. @ 11:30am
Procession drives slowly up Highway 404 to Newmarket OSPCA Headquarters
16586 Woodbine Avenue
Right now Tre is under suspension with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation. The controversy surrounds his putting the life of a human in danger. As a peace officer, with powers of arrest, when you place someone under arrest, you are required to deliver that person to safe custody. Tre left him handcuffed to his vehicle, in the hot sun for hours, while angry bystanders used him as a punching bag. Being handcuffed to his vehicle, he was left vulnerable and unable to defend himself. When police did eventually arrive, the dog's owner was bleeding from his assault.