Kyle Clark came very close to throwing a rock through a stranger’s car window last week.
Inside the car, on a sweltering day in Denver, was a whining dog, crying so loudly that Clark could hear it from across the parking lot.
The KUSA anchor had gone out for lunch when he saw the dog in the back of a locked Honda CR-V.
What happened over the next few minutes made Clark so angry that he publicly called out the dog’s owner on air. The video of the verbal smackdown has been seen more than 1.3 million times on his Facebook page and shared nearly 23,000 times.
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He said when he heard the dog whining “I convinced myself that it wasn’t my business.” But he called the city’s 311 help center, and sat on hold for more than five minutes.
“Do you know how hot it is in 90-degree sun when you’re wearing a suit, or fur, in a car?” he said.
“I’m guessing you don’t or you don’t care based on how you blew me off when you came outside with your frozen yogurt when I offered, politely, apologetically almost, that it’s 90 degrees today, please don’t leave a dog in a hot car. You basically laughed.”
So, Clark continued, “there’s an apology in order. Not for you. No. For your dog. I’m sorry that your dog does not have better humans.”
Leaving an animal in a hot vehicle in Denver is considered animal cruelty, punishable with a nearly $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail, the TV station noted.
Reaction to Clark’s takedown was overwhelmingly positive, with lots of scorn directed at the dog’s owner. Some people shared stories of how they’d seen similar situations. Others wished Clark had thrown that rock through the window.
“No bad dogs. Just bad dog owners,” one man wrote on Facebook.
Some people, though, accused Clark of overreacting.
“If you look closely you can see the car has been parked under a shade tree and the windows are cracked open. He said the owner had gone into a ice cream store for a cone. Hardly a lengthy period. The car had likely been air conditioned,” the man wrote.
“I am a responsible pet owner and dog lover, and I would never support leaving a dog in a hot car in the sun. But I believe Scott overreacted, dogs (whine) for attention, too.”
The Humane Society of the United States offers advice for what to do if you see a pet left unattended in a hot car like that.
It recommends taking down the car’s make, model and license-plate number.
Go into nearby businesses and ask the manager or security guard to make an announcement to find the car’s owner.
If you can’t find the car’s owner, call the non-emergency number of local police or animal control — as Clark did — and wait for them to arrive.
Educate yourself on good Samaritan laws in your state. A few states have laws that allow private citizens to take matters into their own hands and remove animals from vehicles to save them, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Missouri and Kansas do not have such laws, according to the fund.