Two Arkansas City Police Department officers rescued the life of a dog that accidentally hung itself with its leash when it jumped out of a vehicle window July 8.
A post on the ACPD Facebook page about the incident has attracted more than 131,000 views and the story has gone viral nationally via television networks.
Sgt. Jason Legleiter and Officer Wade Hammond were at Walmart, 2701 N. Summit St., in response to a call about a shoplifter.
Once the shoplifting suspect was secured in a patrol vehicle in the parking lot, Legleiter and Hammond were notified by a Walmart employee that a dog was hanging by its leash outside of a pickup truck.
Legleiter and Hammond quickly responded to the nearby vehicle and saw the dog hanging motionless. It appeared to be deceased, but Legleiter used his patrol duty knife to cut the dog’s leash. Hammond began tending to the dog’s care as it lay on the ground and was unresponsive.
Hammond helped the dog to breathe by removing its constricting collar and applying pressure intermittently to the dog’s side.
After several minutes had passed, the dog became more and more responsive and showed signs of life. Eventually, the dog appeared to have recovered fully from the incident and was able to stand under its own power.
“There is absolutely no doubt that Sergeant Legleiter’s and Officer Hammond’s quick response and care saved this dog’s life,” the Facebook post states.
“Photographs attached demonstrate the gravity of the situation and show in contrast what their actions did to prevent a tragic accident.”
No one was arrested as a result of the incident, but the case has been forwarded to the Cowley County Attorney’s Office for consideration of possible charges.
Unfortunate events such as this are easily avoidable by following several simple guidelines, according to www.paw-rescue.org:
- Leave dogs at home on warm days.
- On trips with a pet, bring plenty of fresh drinking water and a bowl.
- Don’t let dogs ride loose in pickup truck beds. The hot metal can burn a dog’s paws, the sun and flying debris can hurt the dog, the dog can be thrown out of the truck accidentally if the brakes are suddenly applied, or the dog can jump out if scared or after seeing something interesting to chase.
- Instead, use a crate to create a safer space for the dog if the dog can’t fit inside the truck cab.
- Take the dog into the shade, an air-conditioned area or a vet if any signs of heat exhaustion are apparent, including restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, dark tongue, rapid pulse, fever, vomiting, glazed eyes, dizziness or a lack of coordination.
- To lower body temperature gradually, give the animal water to drink; place a cold towel or ice pack on its head, neck and chest; and/or immerse the dog in cool — not cold — water. Then call a veterinarian.
Dog owners should take particular notice of the first item on this list — as temperatures rise, the ability to protect animals from the heat while leaving a vehicle unattended becomes less and less likely.
“It takes only minutes for a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day to succumb to heatstroke and suffocation,” according to www.paw-rescue.org.
Rolling down the windows of a vehicle or parking in the shade does not necessarily guarantee protection, either, since temperatures still can climb to dangerous levels. If the windows are rolled down sufficiently, the pet can escape by simply jumping out of the vehicle.