Today I did something I don’t normally do. I called the police.
Why? I heard a dog bark. Why should this alarm me you might ask? Well it wasn’t a ‘normal’ bark. How should I know the difference? Perhaps it’s because I used to show dogs. Perhaps it’s because I used to raise dogs. Perhaps it’s because I was in the pet industry in various forms for over 30 years. There is a distinct difference between a dog barking to get your attention, a dog barking to let you know someone is here, or a dog barking because it is distressed. This dog was barking because of the latter of those three.
Today I drove my motorcycle from my little village here in Wiscon SIN to the bigger town of Wausau, not a far drive but enough for someone recovering from shoulder surgery, having reinjured it, and overcoming a late summer’s cold. The roads here SUCK due to below freezing weather half of the years and bumps every two feet on the asphalt. I had to go to the downtown mall to return something and finding a parking spot usually isn’t easy. I found one on the street next to the paid parking lot across from Sears. Yay I thought. I returned my items and stopped for lunch at the food court, bourbon chicken, you are my weakness.
On the way back to my bike I heard what I thought at first was a child. Then as I got closer to the parking lot I could distinctly hear a dog crying or whimpering and barking alternately in distress. I looked around. There was no one around. The car, a Toyota hatchback with Minnesota plates sat in the open parking lot with no shade. As the dog seemed rather upset and no one was walking by the car to set it off I went to check it out. As I approached the car from behind I thought someone was sitting in the front seat. I couldn’t see inside too easily because of my sunglasses so I removed them. In the backseat there was a childs car seat but no one sitting in the car anywhere. The dog was contained in a kennel in the back of the car under the slanted window and barking for all it was worth. It was an attention getting bark.
I was of two minds about this. Yes it was cooler today and they did have the windows cracked but this dog was barking and you could almost hear it’s ‘voice’ was hoarse. I backed away from the car so as not to cause it any undue alarm; after all it might just be territorial. No one was about so I didn’t think this was the case. I went over and stood next to my bike to wait and see if anyone would come out and claim their car and their dog. After ten minutes though and the dog not ceasing its frantic bark I decided to do something. I called the police.
I had to be transferred to the sheriff’s department, I don’t know why, but I am thinking it is because Wausau Police in an effort to save money have a relationship with them to dispatch their calls. I reported the dog in the car, gave them the description of the vehicle including the license plate, and told them I would wait for the officer.
I know, I am NOT a patient person but after fifteen minutes I called back. I was told they are very busy, I get that. A dog in a car is NOT a high priority. I asked though if I should take a rock to the window? They were NOT amused and told me no. They also told me an officer would be ‘right’ there.
I waited another fifteen minutes. I watched people come and go about their various activities. Some cars came, some left, I saw cars go by on the street, I saw people walk into and out of the mall. No owners, no cops, and no more time. The dog was still working itself into a frenzy but it had also altered its cry, more whimpers could be heard than actual barks. I am imagining it was dehydrated and under that hot sun which I was perspiring in outside in the parking lot, it must be getting hot for that poor small dog. I called the police back. The dispatcher was a different one. They told me that an officer had come out and determined there was no problem. My succinct BULLSHIT wasn’t appreciated. I informed the dispatcher that no police officer had been out, I was waiting not twenty feet from the car, could see in all directions around, and no police officer either in a vehicle or on a bicycle had come near or by in the time I had been there which was approximately forty minutes. That officer that said they had been there had LIED. She asked if I wanted to speak to his supervisor, I said absolutely.
Now I had to repeat the chain of events to this Lieutenant as well. I didn’t appreciate that as my memory isn’t always the best but for some reason things like this irritate me enough that my memory cells retain things of this nature. He took the information, he listened to my complaint, he asked me if I wanted to leave my name. I told him no as police officers are human and retaliatory and I didn’t want to worry about things like that. I said I would wait for someone to show up but as it has already been forty minutes I was about to smash the window on this car! He asked me not to do that and said he himself would come out if he couldn’t get an officer to go.
I waited another ten minutes only to see a young couple with their baby come out of Sears and go directly to this car. The temptation was great to say something, to take out my frustrations on these bad pet owners, I resisted. A confrontation might not be in the best interests of the dog, or in front of their kid, or good for MY blood pressure. I called the cops back and told them they had showed off. They basically blew me off.
So to the couple from Minnesota who had to go to Sears. Your furkid needs as much attention as your personal offspring. More actually, because it was in a cage it could not escape from under the hot sun in a car it could not escape from.
To the Wausau Police Department and the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department; I know a dog in a car is not a high priority but it is to the dog that is dying of heat exhaustion, it is to the person watching it happen and making you aware of the incident, it is to those who would have felt I was justified in taking a rock to that window. Had it been hotter, you bet I would have done it. An hour and no one shows up? Knowing that I was LIED to? Wondering how much busier they had to be in this small burg that no one could show up? Funny how on my way back across your town I saw THREE cop cars doing NOTHING!
I hope the dog is okay, I don’t know of course. I can only ‘hope’ and next time, I’m getting a rock!