Carla Cheney, a former Walmart employee from Kemptville, Canada, claims she was fired for alerting a customer that he shouldn't leave his dog in a hot car.
On Wednesday, shortly before beginning her shift, Cheney saw the customer put his Newfoundland—a large breed with a heavy black coat—in his truck and roll up the windows, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Cheney, who worked in the Walmart pharmacy, called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and later confronted the dog owner after he left the store, telling him that "he should not be leaving his dog in the car." He responded that it was none of her business.
On Thursday afternoon, Walmart Canada posted a release on its Facebook page denying that Cheney was fired for "trying to help a dog in a locked car." It continues, "The decision to dismiss an associate is one that we take extremely seriously and must follow a comprehensive process. However, out of respect for the associate and for privacy reasons we cannot provide specifics about why this associate was let go."
The release also claims that the manager did speak to the customer about the dog and adds, "Walmart is a major supporter and advocate for animal rights. Over the past year alone we have made donations to local SPCAs, the Humane Society and Animal Shelters. In addition, signs will be added to the front of all our stores across the country to advise customers of the dangers of leaving kids and pets in a hot car."
There is also a petition on Change.org to demand that Walmart train its employees on how to report dogs and children left in cars. In less than 24 hours it has received nearly 1,500 signatures.
"Many people do not realize how quickly cars heat up, people think its OK to leave your dog in a car for just a few minutes," Dr. Louise Murray, vice president of the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, told Yahoo! Shine. Murray, who is also a veterinarian specializing in internal medicine, says cracking the windows won't make a difference, and the vehicle can also become dangerously hot on an overcast day.
According to Petfinder, on a day when it's about 70 degrees, the temperature inside a parked car can rise 40 degrees in an hour—mostly during the first 30 minutes. And it may not matter if the windows are cracked or the car is in the shade. The Chicago Tribune reports that on an 85-degree day, the dashboard can heat up to 170 degrees in a mere 15 minutes.