Dogs in cars, an argument that will drive you nuts

There’s nothing better than pets and kids. And for many families, the pet is the kid, right?

In America, some 85 million families— about 68 percent of all households­— own a pet. Among their many qualities, pets are humanizing; they have traits from which we can all learn a thing or two.

Dog is man’s best friend, and to say one’s dog is an important part of the family is an understatement. We fall in love when they’re a puppy and remain bonded forever.

Among their many adorable quirks, dogs like to go everywhere and do everything. In the car driving down the road, some like to stick their head out the window and show floppy ears and sloppy tongues. It’s pure unmitigated joy.

No matter the destination, they’re happy just to go along for the ride, thankful for the invitation to enjoy a blissful outing.

But when spring turns to summer and the temperatures heat up, owners sometimes make a boneheaded move and leave Fido in the car longer than they should, a bad decision that can have disastrous results.

Everyone knows the common-sense rule about pets in cars: If it’s cool outside and the animal has enough air, no problem. But when in doubt, take them out.

On our front page today is a story about one owner who left a healthy, 7-year-old dog inside her vehicle while she went to see a movie. It was evening, temperatures had fallen and the dog had plenty of water and ventilation. Dog and owner were inseparable and the animal was known to go everywhere inside the big, roomy SUV. It was almost like a second home to the pup.

But passersby were outraged, the sheriff was called, and the movie was even stopped temporarily so the woman could be identified and told to go out and get her dog.

California law prohibits leaving an animal in a car under unsafe conditions, but who makes the determination about what is unsafe?

If it’s in the evening and the dog is well cared for, then what’s it to you if a dog is resting comfortably in a car?

When we posted the story on social media, the responses came fast and furious.

“So many know-it-alls. Mind your own business unless it’s truly an emergency,” said one person who supported the lady’s decision to leave her dog in the car.

“Not OK to have a dog locked in a car for hours,” said another. “Separation anxiety is awful, but locking them in the car is not an appropriate solution.”

And, “Train your dog to stay home. These are the same people who think it’s appropriate to bring dogs to the grocery store.”

Are the critics barking up the wrong tree? We invite you to read our Page 1 story and make up your own mind.