Caught on camera: Heated confrontation over dogs in East Tenn. pickup truck

(Courtesy: Alan Lewis via WATE)

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SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) – A confrontation caught on camera has been shared online over dogs in a parked truck on a hot Tennessee day.

Temperatures reached the 90s this week. Alan Lewis says he found two dogs in a pick-up truck on Tuesday with the windows rolled down only a couple of inches for at least 15 minutes. He encountered that scene in a grocery store parking lot along Chapman Highway. He decided to confront the dogs’ owner, with his cell phone camera rolling.

“Get out of here, do-gooder,” said the dog owner, as seen from the video.

The man behind the camera, Alan Lewis, said, “The windows were cracked about that far. The smaller of the dog was just panting really hard and standing up next to the window. The bigger dog was just laying in the seat, and he was panting.”

The dogs’ owner came out of the grocery store to the parking lot, but that’s when Lewis’ conversation with the man quickly turned into a heated confrontation.

“It’s against the law!” Lewis can be heard shouting. The dog owner responds, “Shut your mouth!”

Lewis adds, “He just blew up, didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. So I grabbed my phone and started videoing his reaction.”

The dog owner defended his actions in now viral video. It has been seen more than 22,000 times online. In it, Lewis can be seen asking the man to understand how dangerous the heat can be for pets left inside a hot car.

Lewis asks, “Why do you want to do that to your dogs?” The dog owner responds, “These dogs are happy, look at them.”

“I asked him several times to sit in his car for 15 minutes and he wouldn’t have anything to do with that,” said Lewis. “Your car is an oven when it’s left out in the sun in the summertime. It kills. It kills and people need to understand that.”

Lewis says he called the non-emergency number for police, but the man had already left with his dogs. Now, Lewis is hoping the video he captured will share an important message.

“It’s just cruel, it’s just senseless,” said Lewis. “Those animals, they can’t tell him they’re hot. They can’t roll the window down. When someone can see that those animals are hot, somebody needs to speak for them.”

He also says that he hopes the dog owner will think twice about leaving his pets in the heat.

“What really gets me is that every summer, you hear of tragedies of people’s children or their dogs getting heat stroke or dying in the car,” said Lewis.

Tennessee has a Good Samaritan Law that protects someone from civil liability if they smash a window to save a child. It was extended to cover pets two years ago. It applies if there’s no way for the animal or child to get out and they’re in imminent danger of harm.

First you have to contact first responders, leave a note for the vehicle owner and stay with the child or animal in a safe place until first responders arrive.

Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said, “The temperature in a car can rise about 20 to 30 degrees just within 10 minutes and that can make a huge difference in the likelihood of a child or a dog suffering a major health issue. It’s never good to leave a child or a pet inside a vehicle even for just 10 minutes even cracking the windows will not make a difference.”

Some of the symptoms of heat stroke in dogs include heavy panting, heavy drooling, red gums, a red swollen tongue, bright red eyes and of course, if they collapse. Some breeds face a greater risk, such as bull dogs, pugs and heavy coated dogs.