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Dog dies in parked car while owners attend 'American Idol' audition

July 21, 2009 |  8:37 pm

24-year-old Quincy Vanderbilt was served with a misdemeanor summons for animal cruelty last week after his dog died as a result of being left in a hot car while Vanderbilt's girlfriend auditioned for "American Idol" in Denver. 

Vanderbilt had driven with his girlfriend from North Dakota for the open audition and left the dog, a small terrier, in the car with the windows rolled up.  He had apparently planned to check on the animal periodically throughout the day, but neglected to do so until 2 p.m., by which time the car had been parked in hot weather for a number of hours.  When Vanderbilt arrived to check on the dog, it was already dead, the Denver Post reported.

In a strange example of serendipitous timing, Idol judge Simon Cowell had already taped a public service announcement for PETA that warned pet owners of the dangers of leaving animals in cars ("even when the window's cracked").  The PSA hadn't yet aired, but PETA rushed it to television stations in the wake of the Denver tragedy, according to Fox News.

We're sure no Unleashed readers leave their dogs in parked cars, since temperatures there can reach 120 degrees within minutes (and poor dogs aren't able to sweat).  But should you meet an unfortunate pet locked in a car during your travels, the Humane Society of the United States advises you to "alert the management of the store where the car is parked. If the owner does not return promptly, call local animal control or the police department immediately."

-- Lindsay Barnett

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