Police Nab PETA Award for Saving Dog From Hot Car

Dog's Guardian Charged With Cruelty to Animals After Rescue

For Immediate Release:
July 7, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

South Euclid, Ohio – A Compassionate Police Department Award is on its way from PETA to the South Euclid Police Department after Auxiliary Officer Matt Arko rescued a small dog from a parked car on June 30, when the temperature outside was 86 degrees.

When Arko spotted the dog, who was trying to jump out of the car’s window, he ran the vehicle’s license plate and attempted to find the owner in nearby businesses, but he didn’t receive a response. So, as his bodycam footage shows, he removed the dog from the hot car by pulling him out through the window. “The dog was severely dehydrated and chugged the water the officers gave him,” Public Information Officer Joe Di Lillo tells PETA. Officers took the dog back to the station and found his guardian, whom they charged with cruelty to animals. “We do not tolerate animal abuse of any kind in this area,” says Di Lillo.

“A parked car can become a death trap for a dog in a matter of minutes, even if the windows are rolled down,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA hopes this story will inspire people everywhere to act immediately to save dogs just like this one from horrific, preventable deaths.”

On a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to 99 degrees in 20 minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 109 degrees in just 10 minutes. Six dogs have already died this year from heat-related causes—and because COVID-19 is prolonging store wait times and errands, PETA is concerned that this summer could see an unprecedented number of hot weather–related animal deaths. The group offers an emergency window-breaking hammer for help with intervening in life-or-death situations.

The police department will receive a framed certificate and a box of delicious vegan cookies.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

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