AUBURN — After finding a small dog left alone inside a car Sunday afternoon in the Walmart parking lot, a local woman called the police to save it from the extreme heat.

A dog was found alone in a hot car Sunday in the Walmart parking lot, where a woman called police after no one returned to the car for over 20 minutes. (Photo courtesy of  Christal Smith)

Christal Smith said she went into Walmart when she saw the almost-lifeless pup on the seat of a car, the windows barely open.

“I turned around almost immediately cause the feeling I got when I saw her was unbearable to ignore,” she said. “I pulled right next to the car and sat there for a little to see if it was just someone running in quick to grab something that left their dog in the car.”

Smith said she even rolled up her own windows while waiting to see how quickly her car got hot.

“I was sweating with minutes of doing so,” she said.

After waiting 20 minutes for someone to come back to the car, she called police. An Auburn officer was there within minutes, she said.

Smith said the officer tested the temperature in the car, and it was 103 degrees. He then rolled the windows down and started investigating, trying to find the owners of the vehicle.

An Auburn police officer responded to the scene of a dog left in a hot car Sunday afternoon. He was able to get the dog out of the car, which was unregistered. The owner of the car and the dog have not been located. (Photo courtesy of Christal Smith.)

Auburn’s Deputy Chief of Police Jason Moen said officers have not been able to locate the owner of the car or the dog

Moen said the car was unregistered and they were unable to find the owner. He also said it was unknown whether the owner of the car and the owner of the dog were the same.

Once the officer on scene realized the car was not registered, worked on opening the car door. As soon as the door was open, Smith said the dog jumped right into her car.

“She was so dirty and looked malnourished,” Smith said. “She had knots all through her fur and almost what looked like a black, gummy material stuck in her knotted-up fur. She was so nervous and skittish she jumped out and hid under my car.”

They were able to lure the dog out with treats Smith had in her car for her own dogs, but then the dog jumped back into Smith’s car and would not get out.

A dog rescued from a hot car Sunday afternoon enjoyed some water and treats in Christal Smith’s car before being taken to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society. (Photo courtesy of Christal Smith)

She said the officers asked her to follow them to the shelter in Auburn.

“I wasn’t too impressed with the condition I was leaving her in at the shelter, but at least she was out of that scorching hot car,” Smith said.

Smith then shared her story on Facebook, and one of her friends went to Walmart and found the car still in the parking lot.

Smith’s friend told her that people came back to the car at about 10 p.m. Sunday and took a photo to give to police.

“Hopefully they are actually going to do something about this and the poor baby will never have to go through something like that ever again,” Smith said.

According to Auburn police, a vehicle parked in the shade or with windows open does not provide adequate ventilation during extreme heat. On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside an automobile can reach 105 degrees in just 10 minutes.

Anyone who sees a pet in a vehicle during extreme weather should contact the police or fire department.

Under Maine law, emergency workers can take reasonable steps to remove an animal from an automobile if the animal’s safety, health or well-being appears to be in danger.

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