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Why you shouldn’t leave your dog in idling car

A dog left in his master’s idling van somehow shifted the vehicle into gear and wound up crashing into a  Long Island coffee shop last week.

Bentley, a 50-pound boxer-Sharpei mix that musician Bryan Maher rescued from a shelter about a month ago, “drove” the vehicle through the front window of Cool Beanz in St. James, Long Island, according to the New York Daily News.

“I ran inside the coffee house to sign up for open-mike night, and I left my car running because it’s cold outside and I didn’t want my dog to freeze,” said Maher, 60. “The next thing I knew, I looked up to see my van coming at me in the window, with Bentley in the driver’s seat grinning at me.”

The crash left the shop’s glass front window cracked, some patio furniture busted and the van with minor damage, but there were no injuries.

Maher said he’d learned his lesson, and wouldn’t leave the dog in an idling vehicle again — even if it is cold outside. Instead, he plans to get him “a nice doggie coat for Christmas.”


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time November 24, 2008 at 12:52 pm

Why on Earth do people persist in doing this with their dogs and their children? Between the big dogs and the little kids, it’s turning into the Rolling Car Disaster of the Week. They roll into bars, shopping centers, coffee shops, and downhill into large bodies of water.

In a spirit of humility and helpfulness, I would like to offer this driving hint. It’s been very useful to me over a lifetime of two kids and several dogs: Take a look in the vicinity of your gear shift lever. You’ll see a little stick with a button on the end of it sort of emerging at an oblique angle. Folks, it’s called a hand brake, or sometimes an emergency brake, or (gasp!) a parking brake. Put your car in Park, pull on the little lever, and then turn your car off. As if by magic, your vehicle will become much less inclined to respond to the ministrations of curious kids and canines. In some cars, it’s a wee little foot pedal located high and to the left on the driver’s side.

Or better yet, don’t ever leave a child or an animal unattended in a car at any time for any reason.