FORT MYERS, Fla-- A Southwest Florida woman is upset after finding a dog left inside an unoccupied car parked at a Ft.Myers shopping center. The car, that had a Missouri license plate, was parked outside the Sweet Bean Cafe along McGregor Blvd. for more than 30 minutes before anyone returned to check on the dog.
"It was just jumping and barking and jumping and barking and panting," said Fort Myers resident Linda Grant.
Grant along with a group of others jumped into action after finding the distressed dog inside the car.
"It wasn't a good situation for the poor little puppy," said Grant.
A couple of Sweet Bean Cafe patrons went to several businesses in the plaza looking for the owner. After about 20 minutes and no luck, a witness decided to call law enforcement.
"They said that they would get there as soon as they can and to move away from the vehicle because they were afraid that would distress the dog even more," said Grant.
Florida is one of about 26 states where leaving a pet inside your car is illegal even if the windows are cracked. The law went into effect in 2016 and states if you break a car window to rescue a dog you must call 911 before or after to notify law enforcement.
However, in Missouri there currently isn't a law regarding pets in cars.
Whether the owner didn't know Florida law or chose to ignore it, Grant said that's no excuse for what she witnessed Saturday afternoon.
"I want them to know they are lucky that they have their dog tonight. Hopefully if they see this, this is a lesson to them don't ever leave your pet unattended in your car," said Grant.
Grant said the owner eventually returned to the car and after a brief exchange with one of the witnesses was able to take off before police arrived on scene.
For more information regarding Florida law regarding pets in cars: CLICK HERE
For more information regarding pet laws in states other than Florida: CLICK HERE