Good Samaritan Nabs PETA Award for Saving Dog From Hot Car

For Immediate Release:
June 17, 2022

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Palm Desert, Calif.

A Compassionate Action Award is on the way from PETA to Sue Harvey, who broke into a vehicle to rescue a dog who had reportedly been locked inside for at least 45 minutes on a 102-degree day.

Harvey reports that when she spotted the dog in the parking lot of The Shops at Palm Desert on June 1, she called 911—and knowing that the animal’s life was in immediate danger, she asked passersby for help, borrowed a hammer from one of them, and broke the car’s window. An animal control officer rushed the dog to an emergency veterinary clinic, where she was treated for heatstroke. Her temperature was 104.9 degrees—just 1.1 degrees shy of the temperature that can be fatal or cause irreversible brain damage to dogs. As Harvey told PETA, “I’d do it all over again if I had to”—and she purchased her own hammer to keep in her car for future emergencies.

“A parked car’s internal temperature can reach deadly triple digits in just minutes, so every second counts for a dog trapped inside,” says PETA Senior Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is honoring Sue Harvey for saving this dog’s life and reminding us all to do whatever it takes to help vulnerable animals.”

Within minutes, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 94 degrees on a 75-degree day or 109 degrees on a 90-degree day. Already this year, 10 dogs have died inside hot cars. In 2021, at least 59 animals died from heat-related causes and another 145 animals were reportedly rescued from potentially deadly situations—and since these numbers include only incidents reported in the media, the actual figures are surely far higher.

Anyone who sees a dog in a parked car should take immediate action: Write down the vehicle’s color, make, model, and license plate number, and rush to have nearby businesses page the owner. If they can’t be found, call 911—and if authorities are unresponsive, do what it takes to save a life. California law protects good Samaritans who rescue animals.

Harvey will receive a framed certificate, delicious vegan chocolate bars, and a “Too Hot for Spot” sunshade for her car from PETA, which also offers emergency hammers for intervening in life-or-death situations.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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