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Plano Man Breaks Into Hot Van To Rescue Dog

PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) - It's not often police stand by as someone breaks into a vehicle.  But in a case in Plano Sunday, it was to save a life.   A little Maltese mix locked inside a van at a Costco with only a cup of rapidly-warming water for refreshment in the sweltering vehicle.  Shopper Maurice Sowell captured the break-in on his cell phone.

"Animal Control got permission from their boss to bust out the windows of the van," he told CBS 11 News adding, "I was hot and I could only imagine what the dog was going through.  So I was relieved the dog was able to get free."

Plano Animal Services Manager Jamey Cantrell says workers waited more than half-an-hour before freeing the dog.  "They started noticing the panting was getting worse and worse, so at that point we decided it was best to go ahead and take action, we couldn't wait any longer at that point."

But the story carries a twist: the dog didn't belong to the van's owner.  "What we were told is that it was a dog that they had found, they found it the day before and for whatever reason they decided to take it with them shopping while they went to Costco," according to Cantrell, who added, "I can't begin to explain why people would think that is okay."

Plano gets about ten of these calls a summer.  In checking other cities, Arlington has issued 6 citations for dogs in cars since May 1.  Dallas has answered 16 calls since June 1.  By contrast, Irving and Mesquite haven't reported any.

Plano officials hope the original owner can be located and the 3-5 year-old male can be returned, otherwise it's likely going to be put up for adoption, as soon as this weekend.

Sowell is glad Plano acted; he's a dog lover.  "Yorkies are like my kids," he told us, "I couldn't imagine my Yorkies being in that vehicle with no windows down."

"Being inside a locked vehicle is a recipe for disaster," Cantrell echoed.  The van's owner was cited under Plano's animal cruelty ordinance.   It is a class-C misdemeanor.   The city is not liable for repairs to the vehicle, according to Cantrell.

More information about Plano Animal Services can be found here.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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