Evidently the woman responsible for five canines does not read or watch television – or worse yet, she does and yet she was selfish enough to forego care to her four-legged companions while she enjoyed herself at a bar in the Bucktown neighborhood this weekend. Although the ambient outside temperature was less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, dogs can quickly overheat in an automobile that heats up like an oven with the sun shining overhead – or freeze as spring temperatures drop off in the evening.
A dog’s normal body temperature is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit normally. The dogs left in the automobile in Chicago were described by police to be “small.” If their body temperature rose to about 105 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, or fell substantially, they could either suffer from heat exhaustion or freeze to death. Small dogs are more susceptible than larger ones with more body mass.
Although the woman claims to love her dogs and feels that she proves that by taking them everywhere, at 51 years of age, she should know much better than to leave the poor little things for extended periods of time like she did this weekend. In fact, a witness saw her park her car on the 2400 block of North Artesian Avenue at about 4:30. Approximately six hours later, at 10:30, when that witness saw the dogs were still in the car and the woman had not returned, they phone the police who in turn contacted the fire department to help them pry the car door open.
Since the temperatures had dropped substantially and the dogs did not have heat, food or water for that extended period of time, they were taken as a precaution to the Chicago Animal Care and Control Agency to be checked over and taken care of. Maureen Gaffney, the dogs’ owner, in turn, was located and duly arrested; being charged under the “owner’s duties” section of the state Humane Care for Animals Act.
While this woman may have had the best intentions of keeping her dogs near to her, she should have put more time into having better judgment about this issue. The dogs are her responsibility. She is the pet parent.
Whether she was selfish or simply foolish, Gaffney will learn a very tough lesson in this case. If she is given a second chance with her pets, it will be in hopes that she does not have a repeat performance of this weekend’s events – especially for the sake of the five small canines!