When an Albuquerque woman came out and found her car window smashed in she told the stranger who did it "thanks". Why? Because the woman saved her dog.
It was a hot day and Albuquerque was having a blistering heat wave. Susanne Jones was in a parking lot at a medic clinic and was watching a little dog in a locked car and growing concerned. The window was cracked open - but only a tiny bit. She watched as the dog yelped and pawed at the windows. She then saw him curl up on the floor, apparently exhausted and over-heated.
"The temperature was very hot, the car had to have been very hot," Susanne told KOB Eyewitness News 4 outside a Metro Court courtoom. "It was not sitting in the shade. She [the car owner] didn't have a sun visor up and I just felt like if I stayed there and watched I was gonna watch the dog die."
She asked another woman to call 911 for her and the woman did. She was transferred to the main city hotline at 311 and then connected through to the Animal Welfare Department who told her they would send someone.
But after waiting for 40 minutes, Suzanne could wait no longer, fearing the dog was dying. She took a "Club" locking device out of her car and smashed the rear window on the driver's side to let some air in for the suffering dog.
Police arrived soon after followed by an Animal Welfare officer. Then the dog's owner, Claire "Cissy" King came out of the doctors office. She told the judge at her hearing for her violation of city animal ordinances, she had been taking her 98-year-old mother to the doctor and hadn't realized her dog was in danger.
A police officer told Cissy she had broken the law by leaving her dog locked in the car, and then asked if she wanted to press charges against Susanne.
"The officer asked if I wanted to file a counter-complaint," said Cissy outside the courtroom. "I said about what, and he said about the lady who broke your window. I said absolutely not - no - I'm sure she did what she felt like she needed to do at the time."
Under city ordinances, private citizens do not have the right to break a window or destroy someone else's property to rescue an animal. Only police and Animal Welfare officers have that right.
"She came over when everything was finished and thanked me for doing what I did," Susanne said of Cissy. "She asked if there was anything she could do to thank me and I said just please don't leave your dog in the car again."
The judge dismissed charges against Cissy, as long as she takes a pet safety class, which she plans to do right away.