A Compassionate Police Department Award is on its way from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to the Arkansas City Police Department after officers rushed July 8 to save a dog that was hanging by its leash from the window of a pickup truck in the Walmart parking lot at 2701 N. Summit St.

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ACPD Sgt. Jason Legleiter and Officer Wade Hammond were making an arrest for shoplifting when they were alerted to the dangling dog, whose leash had been tied to a seat belt.

Using a knife, they quickly removed the collar and laid the dog on the ground. The officers remained by the dog’s side and petted him for 10 to 15 minutes, fearing he was deceased, until he awoke with a wagging tail and began drinking water.

“These police officers acted with no time to lose, and their quick thinking saved this dog from a horrific death,” said Lisa Lange, PETA senior vice president of communications.

“PETA reminds everyone never to leave a dog tied up in a vehicle or wearing a leash or choke collar, as fatal accidents can happen in the blink of an eye.”

“I was told the department was going to be receiving an award from PETA in the mail. The award has not arrived yet, but we do anticipate it any day,” said Police Chief Dan Ward.

“This recognition from PETA is appreciated by all of our officers, and I know each will continue to live up to the high standards our citizens have come to expect.”

“The story about the officers saving the dog at Walmart has truly touched many people here in Ark City and across the country. Our Facebook post on the story has received over 170,000 hits from all across the world,” Ward added.

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“This is one example of the caring and compassionate officers we have working here in Ark City. Every day, our officers try to help those they come in contact with and improve the quality of their lives. This does not just apply to people, but also to our pets. We recognize what an important role pets play in improving the quality of life of the citizens we serve.”

In addition, PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way” — reminds all dog guardians never to leave a dog tethered outside in the summer heat, especially in a car, which quickly can become a death trap. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

The Arkansas City Police Department will receive a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies, according to a news release.