Sancti-mob Descends on a Dog Owner Who Dared Leave Her Pet in the Car for 3 Minutes

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In response to the other day’s post about a mom who let her child wait in the car while she ran an errand — and the guy who video-shamed her, and his Facebook friends who piled on — I got the note below.

This is obviously not about a child. But what worries me is the way society seems intent on finding  danger to kids OR pets everywhere it looks, and piling on, viciously. This is a mob mentality. The combustible mix of rage and sanctimony gives people license to be cruel.

Hence the new term I’m trying out: The sancti-mob. Mobs convinced that they have God (or Dog?) on their side, refusing to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Blame is the match to flame.

Dear Free-range Kids: Just got back from vacation, picked up the dog just before the kennel closed. Needed to stop for milk. Air conditioner had been running in car — car was chilly. I cracked windows open but not so much as to let cool air escape. Insane, screaming woman followed me into store calling me a dog killer — mob ensued. Entire errand took under 3 minutes. I’m sure I am on you tube scared to death and telling her off. I did not come off as sane — I was petrified and panicked. Crazy lady that traumatized my child and dog gets off scott-free. My car, license plate, name and video are likely lighting up you tube. What makes people think that it is ok to do this? they are not heroes, they are sanctimonious vigilantes. Clearly, if a dog, child, elderly person — whoever, was in distress then by all means, do something.  But if they are fine — mind your own business. Or wait and watch. Your jumping to conclusions and posting your version of the truth only wreaks havoc and unfairly punishes someone who is not
guilty of a crime but could still suffer consequences thanks to the horde mentality that you have stirred up. I’m still shaken up — she has probably moved on to someone else by now.

I’m not the first to notice that the fear of public shaming via social media is like living under the KGB: At any moment, you could be hauled into a tribunal by your neighbor. The tribunal just happens to be online. – L.

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Seriously, folks, I'm ok for three minutes.

Seriously, folks, I’m okay for three minutes.

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80 Responses to Sancti-mob Descends on a Dog Owner Who Dared Leave Her Pet in the Car for 3 Minutes

  1. Edward Hafner August 14, 2015 at 11:39 am #

    If this “sancti-person” is a regular at the establishment, get a lawyer, work with store manager to identify them and file charges recommended by lawyer. Only reason they move on to others is we are not stopping them. It’s a crime to falsly tarnish someones reputation, isn’t it?

  2. E August 14, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    This sounds awful, and I do like that term!

    @Edward, we need LESS costly, time consuming legal red tape in the world, not more. We need to stop pitting one person in a community against the other. We need people to communicate in calm, helpful manner to each other; not confrontational lectures and diatribes.

    What Lenore is trying to do (and has done!) is spell things out in a logical, fact based, manner to encourage thoughtful members of society, not gather more pitchforks.

    Oh, and she might be happy to read this article from the good news dept:
    http://www.wral.com/uber-driver-discovers-toddler-in-middle-of-raleigh-road/14829770/
    Toddler in the Road at 3am, parents not charged

  3. Neil M August 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

    I LOVE “sancti-mob”, and I intend to start using it frequently.

  4. BL August 14, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    “we need LESS costly, time consuming legal red tape in the world, not more. We need to stop pitting one person in a community against the other. We need people to communicate in calm, helpful manner to each other; not confrontational lectures and diatribes.”

    So, is the idea is to eliminate the entire civil and criminal justice system? I think not.

    What Lenore calls the sancti-mob is impervious to “communicat(ion) in (a) calm, helpful manner”.

    Either go after them legally or go vigilante on them. Any other choice is consenting to be a victim.

  5. Annaliese August 14, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    This scares me because I’m known to leave my dog in the car for 4 hours with the windows cracked a lot, in the shade, with food an water and I check on him to give him bathroom breaks! I can’t leave him home or I get noise complaints and I can’t take him into my moms because her dog and mine attack each other. I guess it scares me because even in circumstances where the owner is doing the best they can people seem to think they can berate you! Luckily my parents neighbors know us and keep an eye out if there is anything wrong but there never has been. Why is it that some think that my situation is okay but a do in a car for 3 minutes is not?!

  6. Edward Hafner August 14, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    @E:
    And what Lenore has done is engage legal professionals in combating the madness that is the sex offender registry.
    When someone is attacked in this manner, there is a proper legal response.

  7. E August 14, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    @BL

    “So, is the idea is to eliminate the entire civil and criminal justice system? I think not.”

    Where did I say this? Edward was suggesting that somehow the rude/obnoxious woman in the parking lot had committed a crime.

    I get weary of people suggesting that more laws and legal procedures is somehow the answer. It’s not. And if these kinds of laws are successful, it will encourage well meaning people to walk by people that need actually need help. We’ve seen it here, people that are afraid to [fill in the blank] for fear of being misunderstood or harassed for helping a kid or speaking to them.

    Can you imagine the doors that open if you can file a criminal complain because people yell at each other? That sounds like fun for the legal system to take on.

  8. SOA August 14, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    Tell her to fuck off and go about your business. If it only took 3 minutes doubtful the cops would show up that quickly and then leave.

  9. E August 14, 2015 at 12:24 pm #

    You are comparing an actual existing legal situation (sex offender laws and the legal predicament of people being charged) to one that is NOT a legal situation.

    We are talking about a rude person yelling at another person in a parking lot. There is no legal situation here. It’s an unpleasant trend in human interactions, but there is no crime.

  10. BL August 14, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    “You are comparing an actual existing legal situation (sex offender laws and the legal predicament of people being charged) to one that is NOT a legal situation.

    We are talking about a rude person yelling at another person in a parking lot. There is no legal situation here. It’s an unpleasant trend in human interactions, but there is no crime.”

    She called him a “dog killer”. She falsely accused him of a crime. Publicly.

  11. JKP August 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    In the case of a child, the “sancti-mob” wants you to bring your child into the store with you (regardless of how long it will take to get the child in and out of the car compared to the time it would take to run the errand alone, nor the effect of disturbing a sleeping child and having to deal with a cranky kid the rest of the day).

    In the case of a dog, what do they expect you to do? You can’t take the dog into the store with you. I’ve often been worried about something like this happening with me when I’m traveling. I quite often drive 12+ hours in the car with my dog when I visit family or friends. There are times I have no choice but to leave my dog in the car while I eat or pick up something I need during the course of the full day trip. Since we’re hours from home, there’s nowhere else for the dog to wait other than the car. I’m always very careful and the car has always still been cooler than the outside temp from the previously running AC, but I still worry about a stranger giving me a hard time about it just because they see my dog in the car.

  12. E August 14, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Ok, I”m no lawyer, but I believe you aren’t committing a crime if you just accuse someone of something in public, don’t you have to actually have to file those as a criminal complaint?

    I guess you could go for Slander, but is that a criminal complaint? And don’t you have to prove it does something to your reputation? I mean, do the people that overheard this even know who the dog owner is, lol.

    But like I said, I’m no lawyer. I doubt even the dog owner wants to spend her time in court, or at a police station when all she was trying to do was get a gallon of milk.

  13. lollipoplover August 14, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    The sancti-mob uses smartphones as the modern day pitchfork.

    I am amazed at how quick others are to judge…quick errands. It’s not illegal to leave a dog unattended for 3 minutes in a cool car. I have 3 large, drooling dogs that make travel a challenge- not because they aren’t going to be fine alone in the car, but because of the threat of broken windows and irrational diatribes from santimonious bystanders. Not many stores allow dogs so options are limited to shady parking spots and windows down for short trips. One of my dogs we adopted never lived indoors before- he was left outdoors in the heat all year round in Tennessee. He now lives like a king and is a complete couch potato.
    But leaving him in a car? Not worth the angry sancti-mob response.

  14. militarywife August 14, 2015 at 1:04 pm #

    We’re military so we move every few years. We have two cats and drive a Prius. Last summer was one of our moves. We needed to use the restroom and get food, so we left the car running with the air conditioner on. Apparently at some point we had enough battery so the engine turned off. People flipped their $#@^ and had mobbed around our car and was calling us all sorts of names. We opened the door so they could feel the freezing air blasting in there. Now we have white boards that we put on either side of the car saying that our air conditioner is on, and if they don’t hear the car running it’s because it had a full battery and is running off of that which turns off the engine. No problems since.

    At least our little mob was completely embarrassed by their mistake. And this was in the mountains of Colorado, where we had just passed SNOW 10 or 15 minutes before and we had to wear pants and hoodies. This was a few days before Memorial Day. So even without the air conditioner, our cats would have been fine.

  15. Tern August 14, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    I left my dog in the car once to run into the grocery store. It was a cool day; in fact I deliberately left the windows almost all the way closed because I didn’t want my small dog to get cold. When I came out there was a crowd outside the car. A woman, who had apparently attracted the others, started yelling at me for wanting to kill my dog by leaving him in a hot car. I opened the car door and invited her to see that the temperature was nowhere near hot, and the dog was not even panting. But nothing would convince her. Finally I got in the car and drove away while she continued to tell me how awful I was.

    I leave my kids in the car for brief periods regularly, and have since they were about 6. I’m careful about temperature and make sure the kids know what to do if they need help. Luckily I’ve never encountered anyone like the woman who yelled at me about my dog. I wish people would start using judgment about whether individual cases involve danger or not. If someone leaves a dog in the car for an extended period on a 95 degree day with the windows shut, it’s a matter for concern. If someone leaves a dog for a short time in cool weather, it’s fine. If someone leaves a 2 year old in the car all morning, it’s a problem. If someone leaves a 12 year old for 15 minutes, it’s clearly not. There are, of course, borderline cases. But surely we should determine whether those cases are actually dangerous based on evidence, rather than being like the woman who kept insisting my dog was baking in the car, when anyone could feel the temperature was comfortable and see the dog was not in distress.

  16. Diana Green August 14, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    Good timing! New book about mob hysteria just came out. I read a review in the NY Times Sunday . “Review: ‘We Believe the Children,’ on Child Abuse Hysteria in the 1980s”. It would be helpful if someone could do a link. I don’t know how.

    And it isn’t about dogs, I’m sorry to say. I love dogs. It’s about Kids! O well! I love kids, too.

    I remember the Cold War years, and how hair-trigger panicky everyone was. Very much like now. If you were an adult and read this review, it will all come back. If you are a young parent, read and learn.

    the 1950s were like now. So were the 1980s.

    What is interesting to me, because I never connected the dots earlier, is the conclusion the author, Richard Beck, arrives at through his research. And it is similar to what I, for one, have been thinking about as I range through the varied topics on Free Range Kids.

    How much of this is a backlash against mens’ perception of a loss of power and control as women become better educated and more self sufficient?

    In the 1950s, men hated and disposed, Rosie the Riveter, and drove her back to her kitchen ASAP.

    The puppy dog issue is not about the dog. It’s the woman. “How dare she!”…do anything except stay home without a car, barefoot and pregnant, washing the dirty laundry and cooking fabulous meals for her man?

    The other recent case of internet shaming of females–three young women, ages 12, 13, and 14, was all about wrecking the lives of girl-children by reminding them that not they, but their fathers, were in total and complete control of every aspect of their lives until they reach the age of majority. Or run “oft”. Whichever comes first.

    Mob hysteria is certainly the issue here. In the case of the three girls again, if the man is making his living soliciting parents on a popular website to shame their daughters into subjection, we are powerless to prevent it. We may not be able to stop Yahoo from putting what they will on their Parenting site.

    But we have the power to select candidates for Judge and District Attorney, Governor, and next year, President, who are not paranoid knee-jerk-jerks who whip up the populace into a fury over non-issues while ignoring the real deal big picture.

    We need to focus on the big stuff ourselves, and look for the patterns that are actually smoke screens hiding the real issues that affect our kids, and us..

    That is what Richard Beck has done in WE BELIEVE THE CHILDREN.

    It is an education in avoiding mass hysteria.

  17. Warren August 14, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    E,
    So you are saying that this woman should just accept and walk away from an angry mob that assaulted her? That she has no right to feel safe when she goes to get milk? And yes what they did is a form of assault. I am all for people talking it out, but they were not talking to her, they were attacking her, shaming her, frightening her and recording her for even more of the same.

    Only ever had one serious incident like this. Was at the coin laundry doing my work clothes, and had my German Shep with me. It was in November. While I was inside, she was sleeping in the backseat of my old Olds. Some lady opened the door, and stuck her arm in to try and get my dog out. I creeped in and slapped the hood. She jumped and I told her she was lucky I didn’t just kick the door closed on her arm. She got all holier than thou, and told me she called Animal Control. Which she actually did.

    When he showed up, I was leaning against the hood of my car, and Rawsha was sitting on the hood, with her head on my shoulder. His exact words, “Yep, got a real problem here.”, and gave her a treat.

    I urge people to let them call the cops or authorities, because as with this idiot, she was known to Animal Control and they have been dying to get her and put a stop to her antics.

  18. Bill Dyszel August 14, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    I like the term “Sancti-mob.” It makes the Salem Witch Trials look civilized.

    Obviously the sancti-mob would prefer that you you leave your dogs and children in the trunk.

  19. JJ August 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    It can happen even if you are a movie/TV star. Jennifer Beales was Santimobbed in Vancouver earlier this summer. Nearly the same situation. http://m.torontosun.com/2015/07/30/jennifer-beals-in-hot-water-for-leaving-dog-in-vehicle-in-vancouver

  20. E August 14, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    @Warren, I do not think this should be “accepted” and of course if she felt physically threatened she should call the police.

    My response was to Edward who suggested ” get a lawyer, work with store manager to identify them and file charges recommended by lawyer”. I don’t think that will accomplish much, and would continue the saga for someone who just wanted to get some milk.

    I certainly would never suggest that anyone in fear not call authorities.

    There was a column I read this week about a woman who opened the door for a dog she “thought” was in heat distress (it was sleeping). A cop showed up and said the dog was fine, the owner was not at fault (he’d shown up by then) and that she could have been charged with something due to her opening his car. At least there are signs that the world hasn’t gone completely crazy.

  21. Katie S August 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm #

    Sadly, I have been seeing this a lot on one of my mommies FB boards. It’s so scary!

  22. BDK August 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    Just went to YouTube and searched “Dog left in car”. There a many videos of people who are confronted for leaving a dog in the car. What really concerns me are the comments that people leave. This sanctimonious mentally is really getting out of hand. These people really think they are being heroes. What happened to us?!? This really concerns me. It’s gotten to the point that neighbor is ratting out neighbor. This was how it was during Soviet Russia. I don’t feel like I can trust people anymore. When will this trend end? I really wish we could think of some kind of a solution. How do we fight back?

  23. hineata August 14, 2015 at 3:15 pm #

    Gosh, I might have grown up too rural or something, but this was really a dog we’re talking about? Geez, this society is getting weird about its animals. They are animals, not humans. I wonder what would have happened to my dad these days….he shot his cattle dog when we had to move to town, as dog was fundamentally a useless cattle dog (would swing on the cows’ tails – Dad should have been rid of him earlier, but too soft) but would have been much worse in town – too confined.

    Why do people even care about animals in vehicles, unless they’re in really obvious distress. You should check out sheep on their way to the works….would love to see a sancti-mob having a look at one of those trucks. Then checking out the box underneath where the dog often gets put. And THEN dealing with the truckie, should they try to interfere. ….

  24. Warren August 14, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    I wonder how many of these so called heroes even own a dog.

  25. valerieH August 14, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    About 20 years ago, I had an altercation with an angry man about leaving my dog in the car when we went into a video rental store. It was not hot out – maybe in the 70s. Up till then I had no idea that we might be putting the dog in danger. I don’t think the dog was in danger that particular day.

    Humans have coexisted with domestic animals over 30,000 years but we can’t seem to agree on how to treat them anymore. Sometimes I think that extreme animal lovers are misanthropes that only get along with their pets. They anthropomorphize pets in a way that leads me to believe they don’t know all that much about animals. Unfortunately, they are successful in getting positions of power in the SPCA and make rules that make no sense to practical people.

    I agree with comments where alarmed people with smartphones can exact vigilante justice via the internet. That kind of thing can get you stalked online or in real life. The media seems to lack any will to do investigative journalism and uses internet flaps instead of real news. This can escalate a minor incident into national attention. I do think there should be legal recourse for someone turning a life into a nightmare over a difference of opinion.

  26. FreedomForKids August 14, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    Last August, after picking my daughter up from camp, we stopped at a McDonalds on the way home because my daughter wanted “real food” after a month of camp food–Hahaha! We had our little dachshund in the car and I cracked all four windows open about three inches. It was 68 degrees out. I actually told my family that I bet somebody is going to call the cops about the dog. Sure enough, within ten minutes or so an animal control van pulled up and an officer was approaching my car. I could see the dog in the car from where I sat in McD’s, but somehow I’d missed the person paying attention to her. My husband told me he’d seen a woman on the phone right next to the car.

    Anyhow, I went out to meet the officer and he right away said he could plainly see the dog was not in distress, it was cool out, and all windows were open. He went on his way, but told me and my family to go on back inside and finish our lunch. Parked right next to my car was a woman reclined in her drivers seat with her window wide open, listening to the whole thing, but when I asked her she denied making the call. I told her next time she should be more informed about the actual situation before making such a call.

  27. C. S. P. Schofield August 14, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    I have to say that, in similar circumstances, I would tell Crazy Lady to mind he own goddamned business. But I’m 6’2″, beard, head shaved, and with peaked eyebrows. People probably aren’t going to start with me in the first place.

  28. Jessica August 14, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

    Someone at church once put the whole “judge not” lesson very succinctly: don’t judge others just because you can see their sins. Now, in this case, it wasn’t a problem because the owner made a reasonable choice and her dog was never in any danger, just like most of us on this site make reasonable choices regarding our children, but these choices are visible. What’s not visible is the child/pet that is kept inside all the time and never given freedom who dies young from obesity-related diseases. Really and truly (and I know I’m preaching to the choir) unless we actually see a child or animal in true distress, watch if you feel like you need to, but otherwise, put the bloody phone away and keep your trap shut.

  29. Elsie K August 14, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Someone has probably brought this up before, but every time the subject of dogs or kids in cars gets brought up, I can’t help but think of this short bit from The Office:

    https://vimeo.com/42706190

    The sancti-mob indeed.

  30. Donna August 14, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

    “It’s a crime to falsly tarnish someones reputation, isn’t it?”

    No, it is not.

    You could sue civilly for slander, but you’d first have to prove an injury to your reputation. If the people you associate with are willing to believe that you kill dogs due to a crazy person screaming at you in a parking lot, they didn’t think that highly of you to start with.

  31. Agent0013 August 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

    If someone starts yelling at me and telling me how horrible I am for being a killer, I will take it as a personal threat that they intend to do me harm by physical force or by threat of a police call. In that case I find it to be completely legitimate to kick the person down and proceed to stomp on their face until they stop threatening me. If you cannot be a polite member of society, then I do not feel the need to be polite back at you.

  32. Jamie August 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    I’m sorry to hear this happened. Interesting I had a similar situation with a different outcome. I was at my fitness place and when I looked out the window I saw a dog in a parked car. Windows were not open. A few of us walked outside to assess the situation. The car was running and I assumed the air conditioning was on as well. There were blankets and water bowls for the dog. There was a shade on one of the windows to block the harsh sun. One woman asked if we should call the police. I asked her not to do anything. I said that the air conditioning was on in the car and it was no different than if the car was driving down the street. Also clearly this was someone that truly loves her dog because she left her dog with everything the dog needed. Maybe the person had a quick emergency errand to run or something quick she needed to do…. Other than the unwise nature of leaving a car running, situation seems fine to me. About five minutes later the owner returned to her car and gave the dog plenty of love and drove away.

    The one thing I think that could’ve made the situation better would’ve been if the owner left a note on her windshield letting people know that she would be back in five minutes. And that her dog was fine.

  33. Donald August 14, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Herd mentality, or mob mentality, describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items. Examples of the herd mentality include stock market trends, superstition, home décor, etc.

    This is the issue. Anything can set this alight whether it’s a pet waiting in a car or child in a playground that’s unsupervised.

    What I don’t understand is why people are not embarrassed that their own willpower is so weak that the’ll turn into a sheep (or a mobster) at the drop of a hat.

  34. fred schueler August 14, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    the problem with the fruit of the Edenic tree of knowledge of good and evil was the embodied idea of dichotomous classification – the modern lesson from this is that the original sin was thinking you could glibly classify things as either right or wrong on the basis of generalized rules. It’s been a long three millennia to work out that we need to think about things carefully and tentatively in order to come to worthwhile conclusions based on reflection rather than rules (Socrates and Jesus and Paul and Darwin started this in their different ways).

  35. Donald August 14, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    “It’s a crime to falsly tarnish someones reputation, isn’t it?”

    “No, it is not.”

    It’s not a crime, It’s a fad. In fact if you do this on youtube it’ll go viral and it will get lots on likes on Facebook.

  36. Donald August 14, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    Years back the world use to sacrifice virgins to appease the gods in order to bring a good harvest. We’re more sophisticated now. W sacrifice a persons reputation and dignity to get likes on Facebook

  37. Papilio August 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    That dog doesn’t look ‘okay for three minutes’. It looks like it just ate the driver’s entire illegal drug supply…

  38. Art August 14, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    @papillo,

    Haven’t laughed that hard in weeks. Nice!

  39. jan farmer August 14, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    How long before children and dogs riding in vehicles with no air conditioning is considered abuse by these vigilante wackos.

  40. dancing on thin ice August 14, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

    What is considered hot is relative. Although uncomfortable, some of us have worked in 115° or higher.

    If I drove a car and left a pet or child in it, I would also have a huge thermometer in the window. 70° would be marked “room temperature”, 80 as “a little warmer” and 90 as warm.
    I might also include a newspaper headline that the heat index in Bagdad was 164° last week.

  41. Mark August 14, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    Hi Lenore,

    Great term. I love “Sancti-mob”, it’s brilliant. I actually use the term “digital lynch mob” because that’s what it’s like. One person on social media points the finger at someone and screams some inflammatory, highly emotional term “bad mother” “child neglecter” or worse and within seconds thousands around the world are screaming to have that person hung, just like used to happen in wild west. This is why we have laws and due process and all those sorts of things to protect people from wrongful accusers but now, with social media, a person is “proven” guilty in a second by a post or video and then sentenced by the mob, without any right to defence. You are so right. Social media has not brought us freedom, it has brought us enslavement and it is just like living under the KGB. We are being watched by people who do not know us, who can judge our actions in an instant and report us to the “authority” of digital media who will sentence us instantly. As the saying goes, “a lie can go halfway around the world before the truth has even got its boots on.” In a digital age this factor is only being accelerated!

  42. Suzanne August 14, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    “sanctimonious vigilantes” is the perfect descriptor

  43. James Pollock August 14, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    “It’s a crime to falsly tarnish someones reputation, isn’t it?”

    No, it’s not a crime. It MAY be a tort.

  44. James Pollock August 14, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    “You could sue civilly for slander, but you’d first have to prove an injury to your reputation.”

    Probably better to go with invasion of privacy – false light. First off, this kills off the truth defense, secondly, it changes the damages calculation.

  45. K August 14, 2015 at 9:59 pm #

    Oh boy. I admit, I’ve called animal control in a dog being left for at least an hour (in the shade, windows down) on a hot day, 100+ F. I should have waited it out, maybe?, as the dog was fine an hour later when AC arrived. I regret that choice.
    This week, my neighbor, who is not a great person, left his two puppies locked in his Winnebago of squalor with no water for 8+ hours. He lives with his senior parents, who had no clue he owned these dogs (this is a whole other saga, including drugs), and said he would take care of them. He didn’t. He left them there, but I was able to watch them and they were okay. I went over and talked to the senior father, calmly, twice, and the next day they took them to the shelter. I’m glad I had the sense in me to handle it differently this time. All parties win when common sense and calm discussions are involved.

  46. K August 14, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    Also, if it’s a mom-on-mom shaming, as so many instances are, I like to envoke the “STFU, Parents” blog phrase of “sanctimommy.”

  47. Hush August 14, 2015 at 11:33 pm #

    Want to know what I did watching a dog sit in the car next to me when it made funny upset noises when their people left? Talk to it and say “Awwww are you sad about your owners going into the store? I know! I know. I know. You’re so cute. They’ll be back in a few.” As people look at me like I’ve lost my gourd.. 🙂

    I am quite sure the dog was fine.

    These people creating this hysteria are the ones who should get the weird looks.. I’m just talking to a cute dog. What’s so crazy about that? So why do other people fall in line with the *real* lunacy? Sigh..

  48. Eddy August 15, 2015 at 12:25 am #

    The Cecil the Lion story was awful. But the mob that then threatened the dentist with loss of life, limb and livelihood, was worse. Yes the dentist should be prosecuted if a crime was committed. rather than rely on the But those fanning a lynch mob psychology are threatening the very underpinning of our society: a belief that justice is pursued, even imperfectly, but pursued on a legal level and not by the mania of the mob.

  49. En Passant August 15, 2015 at 3:17 am #

    Maybe these sancti-mobs never had enough fun in their sheltered lives. Maybe they’re still traumatized from the time mommy told them to go outside and play.

    But you can bring some fun into their lives. You can buy plastic fake bloody hands and feet all over the intarwebs. They look realistic from a distance, and are designed to be stuck in car doors or trunks. They’re also safe for doggies, or even kids, to chew on.

    Get one. Or more. Next time you need to leave Rover or Junior in the car for a few minutes, give them some nice chew toys. Or just hang one in the car trunk lid or a door. If a sancti-mob audience shows up, kids would catch on fast and really ham it up. Bloody zombie bandages would add a nice touch.

  50. sexhysteria August 15, 2015 at 4:23 am #

    Some people (especially pet owners) are more hysterical about pet safety than child safety.

  51. Warren August 15, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    En Passant,

    Love the ideas. I was thinking of posting a sign in my truck, after this story.

    “BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO EXTRICATE MY DOGS, PLEASE VISIT YOUTUBE AND SEARCH ‘AFTERMATH OF BRUTAL DOG ATTACK'”

  52. SanityAnyone? August 15, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    It has a ring to it and we should coin a phrase. However I don’t like how the inference could be “sanctified” (blessed/right) instead of “sanctimonious” whereby they may be smug but not necessarily supported by the gang.

    Some of of the original whistle blowers present themselves as level headed concerned citizens (some don’t), not realizing the full implications of accusations and negative speech. However, there is nothing g*d-like about the mob they raise who are vulgar, brutal, mindless and threatening.

    Other ideas?

  53. JR August 15, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    @Warren. I’m sure they own dogs. I’m sure they have small dogs with names like Zsa-Zsa and Chi-Chi that they carry around in little dog purses or push in dog strollers everywhere they go.

    I live in one of the hottest states in the union, and I’ve looked up the laws on leaving animals in a car. The only rule here in AZ is that you’re not allowed to “endanger” an animal. So leaving an animal in a car for 30 minutes on a 105* summer day, with the windows rolled up and no AC, would probably count as endangerment. But on a 75* winter day, not so much.

    A car is not automatically a death trap, as much as all the smartphone-warriors out there like to think it is.

  54. Hancock August 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    I’ve had to calm my seven year old down about the issue of dogs in cars.

    “Does the dog look uncomfortable? Is he panting or does he look hot? No? The dog is barking loudly and appears happy. We shall mind our own business”

  55. Becks August 15, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    I wonder if social media didn’t exist and in turn these sancti-mob types didn’t know they’d have an audience for their ‘heroics’ many of these incidents wouldn’t happen. There’s always someone ready to jump on any bandwagon passing. I see it on Facebook all the time – ranting coz they think the police aren’t handling a case right or whatever. If only we had more thinkers and less sheep

  56. olympia August 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    Papillo- Agreed. That dog looks tweaked to the gills.

    And JKP, you raise a good point. What ARE you supposed to do should you need to stop when you have an animal in the car, given that bringing them with you tends not to be an option?

  57. SKL August 15, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    My sister used to leave a dog in the car sometimes when she visited my parents. She is a dog expert and knows how to make sure the dog is OK and when it isn’t safe to do that. At some point, a “concerned community member” called the dog catchers to come and “check on the well-being” of the dog. My elderly parents were quite put out and now don’t allow my sister to come over if she has a dog in the car, regardless of conditions.

    Another time a cop read her the riot act for having her dog in the car when it was cool and dark. He threatened to arrest her until she promised to never do it again.

    Meanwhile we periodically hear of police dogs dying in hot cars.

  58. Jenny Islander August 16, 2015 at 4:19 am #

    You know what I never hear in all this EEEEE MOB TIME IMMA PUT YOU ONNA INTERNETS thing? The first line of defense against something going wrong in a car in front of a store. The very first. Here’s how it works:

    1. You go quietly, without making a scene, to the customer service desk.
    2. You explain that somebody left their lights on, forgot to roll down the window for their dog, or their child who was waiting in the car is upset, and you give a brief description of the car.
    3. You let the person with the intercom make the announcement.
    4. You walk away.

    Or is this just another of those weird time capsule things people only do up here in Not Like On TV Land?

  59. elizabeth August 16, 2015 at 6:37 am #

    Ive seen perfectly happy doggies that were left in cars for a bit. Likewise, my parents used to leave me and my brothers in the car for short periods of time. Its not autimatically a crime just because it appears dangerous at face value. If that were true for everything, one would let their kids or pets do anything ever.

  60. JP Merzetti August 16, 2015 at 8:49 am #

    Well we have to remember that to a lot of people, a dog is not just a dog anymore. There are now an awful lot of human moms and dads to dogs out there. And if you’re capable of crossing that lexicon, rabid sanctity might not be far behind.
    So what does one do when encountering rabies? Back off. (I learned that as a kid.)

    Trouble is, the rabies come accompanied by teckie toys. Which can spread the toxic infection exponentially.
    Perhaps the only real protection here, is to smile large, flash the ivories – and record the recorder.
    While patting the dog.

    When bullies use weapons of choice – sometimes turning that weapon back on them can work wonders.

    What really weirds me out – is that all this hatred……is mixed right into the love affair with the car.
    The car is central to a life. Beloved, and totally so.
    But being childed and petful, we haven’t figured out how to share the love.

    The real danger in what cars actually do – is what they do in motion.
    (America spews Vietnam Wars’ worth of carnage annually……and ignores those stats remarkably easily.)

    I’d love to see a sancti-mob sometime going ape-crap at the scene of an accident that didn’t need to happen.
    It was not an “accident”……it was selfish, criminally negligent stupidity of the first degree.
    (But here comes that love again.) Like the forgiveness of a Lord.

    The hypocrisy of this could make me crazy, I guess.
    Thankfully, there are larger hypocrises to take the edge off…..

  61. SanityAnyone? August 16, 2015 at 9:13 am #

    We brainstormed on a long car ride. I came up with “shame mob” and my husband came up with “flash crusade” or MOBH (momentarily overcome by hate). He thinks the immediacy of the reaction (no time to think critically) is an important component.

  62. wji August 16, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

    letter writer here. . .the “victim” from the incident above survived to tell about it. Unlike last week, it’s a heatwave this week–about 90 degrees. There’s shade on the porch and along the tree line at the edge of the lawn and the dog can come inside any time he wants — but he’s laying in the full sun in the middle of the yard. Perhaps he’s suicidal? Hope that lady doesn’t drive by and see him — she’d probably tell me I should force him inside for his own good.

  63. Barry Lederman August 16, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    Sancti-mob is a great term. Apt and brilliant. I am sorry it was necessary to make up such a term.

  64. Beth August 16, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    @wji My dog too! It has been in the low 90’s the last two days, with high humidity. My HUSKY, 4 separate times over the two days, went outside, found a place in the brightest sunshine, laid down and took a nap. What a character. I was glad no one walked by and decided he was in trouble.

    (I have twice had people ring my doorbell in the winter to tell me it’s too cold for him to be outside.)

  65. Donald August 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

    sancti-mob
    shame mob
    flash crusade
    MOBH (momentarily overcome by hate)

    These are all great terms. I especially like sancti-mob and think it will catch on as the world becomes more aware of this problem.

    I have heard of dogs that are friendly household pets. However when they get together with other friendly dogs in the neighborhood, they can run around in packs and kill other animals for sport.

    Mankind is also susceptible to be steered by emotion to do horrific things. Just because we have possible thumbs does not mean that we’re immune to this animalistic behavior.

  66. Andrew August 16, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    Yeah, 3 minutes seems fine to me, although a car in the sun can reach extreme temperatures really quickly. It certainly doesn’t rate high enough for a mob following though.

    I seriously think you should treat your pets like your children and if you’d leave your kids in the car then so be it. But it’s unlikely you would.

  67. Warren August 16, 2015 at 9:21 pm #

    Andrew,
    Running a quick errand, I very seldom ever brought my kids out of the car.

    Beth,
    One of ours is a Great Pyrenese. Loves the winter. I’ve seen her lie out and nap, and when she wakes up has an inch or so of snow to shake off. In the winter, you can’t keep her inside. She’s at the door driving you nuts, wanting out.

  68. wji August 16, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    @Andrew
    Actually, I asked my kid to stay in the car with the dog but she was overtired and cranky and refused. I was also overtired and cranky and acquiesced. live and learn. either way, the dog was never in danger. it was after 5, 80 degrees but no bright sun, airconditioner had been running for an hour. the car was chilly.

  69. Marina Alby August 16, 2015 at 11:25 pm #

    I once was a young mother with two kids and a puppy dog. I was also expecting my third…One day I took my two kids to the swimming pool for ther lesson. It was hot. I parked under a tree, left the rear window open and left my puppy in there while I took the girls to the pool and helped them get ready for their class, Then left them with their instructor and went back to the car. It all took 10 minutes at the most as they were already wearing their swimming suite under their dress. But when I got to the car our puppy wasn’t there. I got scared that the puppy might have jumped out somehow: I had left the rear windows open – more than just a crack open – and had not locked the car …could someone have stolen it? I looked around and called the dog…Walk around a bit calling our Sasha then went back to the pool and asked if they knew anything about my dog:
    “Yes – the girl said – a lady took it to her home because she was worried for the poor puppy would suffer a heat stroke…She left her address! ”
    Needless to say this sanctimonius lady screwd up my day royally as the free and precious half hour I was going to use to take my puppy for a walk while the kids were safely swimming had been stolen from me. By now too much time had passed. In less than ten minutes my girls would be out, my day that I had so carefully planned would resume at the usual high speed and on top of everything I would have to spend extra time find her home (there were no GPS then) to pick up my puppy.
    Should I say “thank you ” for an obvious interference in my life ( no matter how well intentioned?)
    If she had been a responsible person she could have left a note on my car so I would have saved time and be reassured instantly. When later on I went to her home to pick up our puppy she wasn’t there. Only two young kids, less than 8 years old opened the door and returned my puppy to me.
    This sanctimonius thinking – usually by people who have little brains and no life of their own – was rampant even then, more than 30 year ago, but at least I was spared the shaming via social media. How can we defend ourselves from these individuals?

  70. Vicky August 17, 2015 at 12:21 am #

    Here’s what I think, and it’s worth 2 cents, we’ve gotten so far removed from reality with facebook, cell phones, cable tv, video games, anti-depressants, Anti-Anxiety pills and other tranquilizers, we have forgotten what being neighbors and fellow citizens is all about. Common courtesy and common decency ae becoming extinct.

  71. invaderhorizongreen August 17, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    Why cant we stop and think before jumping to conclusions.

  72. Warren August 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm #

    It is all about the cellphones with cameras.

    Before cellphones if you wanted to a so called hero, you had to find a payphone or convince a shop owner to let you use their’s. Both of which took time. And in most cases that either gave people time to think before reporting on someone. Or by the time they got back from the phone, the car with the child or dog was gone.

  73. Hush August 17, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    As someone who has suffered from PTSD, I have to say I don’t really need trigger warnings. Yes, I occasionally get triggered, but at this point I occasionally just get lost for an hour or two in my thoughts or have trouble sleeping or write huge long rants in a notepad that I delete the next day.. I get triggered by things related to what happened and by things that are relatively unrelated. Even talks of “sibling relationships” can trigger me. I don’t think that anyone would think something as benign as “sibling relationships” would be a triggering topic, but, for me, it is.

    Someone triggered badly enough to not function properly / feel that unsafe (would she go barricade herself int he bathroom or something? — not teasing or making light, it’s something I’ve done!) after the word “violate” is perhaps just not ready yet for college and needs more intense counseling or more time to process and come to peace.

    I think that part of the issue is the non-acceptance of people freaking a bit out in public and freaking out in private, too… Why are human emotions.. crying, anger, fear, anxiety, obsessive thinking (especially from someone with PTSD all someone needs to say is “I’ve suffering traumas” but that is a bit taboo, itself).. such a problem that someone can’t express them over something that upsets them? Especially if they have PTSD? I’ll tell what I think. I think the majority in this culture do not want to deal with human suffering. In real life, on paper, or online… But over-sanitizing history, college courses, and news etc. is not related, entirely, in my view, to mollycoddling/hover-parenting. It’s also, I think, related to the deeper cultural flaw of people/parents/culture who don’t accept negative feelings for what they are without shaming children/people for having negative emotions or blaming people for having them.. Kids are often hit, shamed, bullied, or otherwise harmed in our culture if they show “defiance” or “irregularity”, and both often mean emotions. No wonder people are trying to avoid emotions..

  74. Hush August 17, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    Oops posted that post to the wrong article.. 🙂

  75. L August 17, 2015 at 11:13 pm #

    Cracking your windows will let the cool air escape more quickly. Better to leave them completly closed for a VERY short time, and/or your AC running.

  76. Brooks August 18, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Funny that you posted that on Friday. That very evening I witnessed this very thing at a grocery story. It was unseasonably cool, had just rained and was about 77 degrees, cloudy and at dusk. A very belligerent redneck woman got herself in a tizzy about a perfectly content dog in a car. I had just seen the woman run in. She had been gone about 30 seconds when the attack happened. The redneck woman ran in and went person to person in the store. Others got involved and by the time the poor woman who owned the dog walked out in a panic (because she was very close to being physically attacked), there were four rednecks on the phone with the sheriff and several were taking pictures of her, her dog, her car and her tag. It was the most ridiculous and frightening thing I’ve seen. One of these rednecks I had just seen smack the heck out of one of her kids, but hey, let’s take care of the puppy…..

  77. Papilio August 18, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    @Brooks: That reminds me of this lovely example of Southern open-mindedness……..:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKcJ-0bAHB4

    Sticks and stones anyone?

  78. Curious August 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    One crazy person was the single cause of THE MORAL CRISES OF THE 1980s. Which continued into the 1990s and resulted in the longest court case in America, now referred to as a Witch Hunt”, which disgraced police departments, District Attorneys, as well as psychological experts and social workers throughout the country.

    It was expensive, sure. But great good has come of it. Because mob hysteria has been wiped out, or at least discredited, once and for all. We hope. There will never be another “sancta-mob.”
    Maybe.
    As W.H. Auden said about Voltaire:

    “The fight against the false and the unfair
    “Was always worth it.
    “Civilize.”

  79. Curious August 22, 2015 at 6:32 pm #

    A cattle stampede?

    Lost sheep following the wolf not the shepherd?

    Lemmings in a sancti-mob flooding over a cliff in a quest for an ultimate religious experience?

    Seriously, what is the operative psychology or sociology when a herd or flock or kindle of Baby Boomers choose to fall in behind the craziest person on the premises rather than assessing the situation and realizing that under the same circumstances they would have left the kiddo and the pupsy in the Caddie or the SUV themselves.

    Or is it the “Game of Clue Complex”? Where the motivation is to get around the game board based on a choice among Fame, Money, or Love?

    Those Boomers are going for Fame by hoping they’ll be going on Viral on Crazy Person’s social media site. Or money–? Love? Not likely.

  80. Timmy August 27, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    OMG I see dogs and kids in cars all the time. Depending where you are this isn’t an issue except in your own heads.