MANHATTAN – It only took NYPD officers a matter of seconds to smash the passenger side window of a dark grey SUV, bringing an end to the more than two-and-a-half hour long drama that unfolded on the Upper East Side Friday afternoon, as a growing crowd of horrified onlookers waited for police to rescue the dog locked inside the vehicle on a hot June day.
Neighbors had spotted the small, fluffy white American Eskimo tethered to the backseat of the Volvo— which has Connecticut license plates— just after 3:45 pm Friday, when the sun’s rays were still baking on the SUV parked in front of 207 East 88th Street between Second and Third Avenues in Yorkville.
Courtney, the neighbor who initially spotted the dog, was distraught by the cruelty unfolding before her very eyes and called 911 for help multiple times over the course of two hours, pleading with the operators to send help.
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Another woman used a syringe to squirt cold water into the SUV through the sunroof cracked open not more than inch.
Inside the SUV, the dog was breathing heavy and would go wild as the water dripped down the seats, lapping up as much as it could.
Even when not in direct sunlight, the temperature inside a car can rapidly rise to dangerous levels on a hot day. On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a car can skyrocket to 120 degrees in a half hour, according to the ASPCA.
The American Eskimo was locked in the car for more than two and a half hours on Friday afternoon, when the temperature was 84 degrees.
Upper East Site was there when NYPD Officers Robinson and Maharaj arrived on the scene just after 6:00 pm to assess the situation.
Police were fielding a flood of 911 calls on the Upper East Side at the time, leaving the NYPD’s 19th Precinct with a backlog of more than two dozen other requests for assistance to work through.
Once on the scene, the number of cops quickly grew until Officer Robinson used a special tool to shatter the passenger side window of the grey SUV, unlocking the door– the vehicle’s alarm blaring– and set the poor dog free from the sweltering Volvo in which he was imprisoned.
Neighbors finally breathed a sigh of relief, some of them breaking out into applause for the hero cops, while another bought over a small metal bowl of refrigerated water for pup, who quickly lapped up it up with an insatiable thirst.
After the rescue, the pup was loaded into an air conditioned NYPD cruiser and taken to Animal Care Centers of NYC in East Harlem where it will be examined by veterinarians– who will also check the dog for a microchip with its owner’s information.
As of 8:00 pm Friday night, witnesses said that the dog’s owner still had not come back to the SUV.
The NYPD confirmed to Upper East Site on Sunday that they had arrested the dog’s owner, 26-year-old Melwah Campos– who lives near where the SUV was parked– and charged him with animal cruelty.