Two Wal-mart workers were fired for coming to the aid of dogs trapped in hot cars. The Ottawa Citizen reports that Carla Cheney, a pharmacy technician, witnessed a man trying to get his Newfoundland dog to get back into the car after the dog had jumped out twice. When Cheney confronted the man, he said it was none of her business. Shortly after that, Cheney witnessed another dog locked inside a hot car and told her manager, who also said this was none of her business and went back in the store. With nowhere to turn, Cheney called the police who quickly responded. Just a few days later, Cheney was terminated and escorted from the store for being rude to a customer.
Similarly, Sean Dhaliwal, another Wal-mart employee, saw a man who frequently left his dog in his hot car while he went shopping, and Dhaliwal spoke to him about it. He was also fired soon after. When the Ottawa Citizen asked Wal-mart about their policy, they said that they would not comment on individual situations but that they had their own guidelines in place for when something this happens. Spokesperson Felicia Fefer said:
“We require our associates to follow these guidelines, which include reporting any safety concerns to a member of management, and engaging customers in a manner that is respectful.”
Cheney followed the guidelines. She immediately told her manager who did nothing to help, so she was forced into a no-win situation, but chose to help the poor dog trapped inside the hot car. As with many things when it comes to the well-being of animals, the almighty dollar trumps all at this chain store. Wal-mart is apparently afraid of losing any customers and consequently will allow people to neglect their animals on store property.
The notion that dogs are fine if you cracked a window open is false. Dogs pant to cool down and when the air they are breathing in is too hot, they are unable to pant effectively and therefore, cannot cool down. Many suffer from heatstroke quickly. Also, people usually underestimate the time they are in the store, which makes their dog’s situation even more distressful.
Dogs can die very quickly when trapped inside a hot car, and Cheney and Dhaliwal should have been rewarded, not fired. Shame on Wal-mart — they should know better, and stand up for animals’ health and well being.
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