San Diego MTS officer tried to rescue dog in hot car in La Mesa but was too late

The dog was spotted by a member of the MTS bus operations team several hours after a Volkswagen driver parked and left

A generic shot of the Spring Street Trolley Station parking lot in La Mesa
Google Street

An investigation by the San Diego Humane Society is underway after a driver left a dog in a hot car parked at a Trolley station in East County.

Sadly for the canine, efforts by rescuers came up short on Sunday, the first day of several in a heat wave hitting San Diego this week. Temperatures reached the mid-90s that day in La Mesa.

The incident began when the driver of a Volkswagen parked at the Spring Street parking lot shortly before 2 p.m., then walked away.

Around two hours later, a member of the MTS bus operations team noticed the dog in the car, MTS spokesman Mark Olson told NBC 7 on Monday, then they contacted MTS security, who in turn got in touch with the San Diego Humane Society and the MTS K9 unit, both of which arrived on the scene quickly

When officials at the scene decided to break into the car to attempt a rescue, the dog was showing obvious signs of distress, Olson said, adding later that, having shattered a window to make to save the animal, he was in such bad condition that it died quickly afterward.

"We can confirm that the dog had sadly passed away before our Humane Officers and La Mesa PD were on the scene, and our officers confirmed he was deceased," SDHS spokesman Jordan Frey told NBC 7. "MTS and [bystanders] did legally break into the car and attempt to aid the dog in distress."

Frey said that the humane society was unable "to share more information at this time since it is an open investigation."

Temperatures are heating up across San Diego County so conditions are more dangerous for everyone – even your pets. NBC 7’s Sheena Parveen speaks with a local veterinarian about the dangers of leaving your pets in a hot car.

The Humane Society's Law Enforcement dispatch received 533 calls regarding pets left in hot cars in 2022, Frey told NBC 7. Olson said it was the first time in his years of working at the MTS that he had heard of such an incident.

According to the ASPCA, a car's interior can reach 120 degrees in just 30 minutes after being left in the sun on an 85-degree day.

Anybody with information about the incident is being urged to contact SDHS investigators at 619-299-7012, option 1.

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