As Xochitl Dalton pulled into the parking lot of the Wet’n'Wild Splash Town water park, a disturbing sight caught her eye.
“I looked over and saw that there was a huge yellow Lab,” she told KPRC-TV in Houston, noting the dog inside an SUV with Wisconsin plates parked next to her vehicle. ”It looked like it was really, really hot.”
Indeed, temperatures in the area passed 90 degrees on Friday, but investigators later told the station that the temperature inside the vehicle in question could have been as much as 140 degrees — and deputies said the dog was on the verge of passing out after being locked inside for hours.
So Dalton summoned police to the water park in Spring, Texas, about a half hour north of Houston — but she did something else, too.
“I posted a picture of the dog to several Facebook groups,” she told KPRC. “I was amazed at how many people were wanting to rescue this dog.” In fact, about a dozen people from all over town rushed over to the water park to help.
“I immediately dropped everything, got in my car and drove from Magnolia up here, ready to bust the windshield out,” Melissa Camp, who saw the post on Facebook, told the station.
On Dalton’s Facebook page, as she apparently chatted with concerned friends after posting the photo of the dog, she writes that a police officer had arrived but wouldn’t break the vehicle’s window: “He is trying to find the owner!” Dalton writes. “Really??”
Before those gathered around the vehicle broke any windows and before police returned to the scene, KPRC reported that a park employee squeezed his hand through a small opening in the window, unlocked the door, and got the panting Labrador out.
When the park closed Friday evening, KPRC reported that authorities found the dog’s owner and arrested him. He wasn’t identified but deputies indicated he’d be booked into jail on animal cruelty charges.
The dog underwent a health evaluation and was in the custody of the Harris County Constable Pct. 1 Office.