Movie-theater owner Dan Harkins cited for leaving dog in hot car

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PHOENIX -- Valley movie-theater owner Dan Harkins was cited over the weekend for leaving his dog in a hot car for two to three hours.

Harkins said he had parked on the shady side of the Shea 14 theaters near Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard at about 5:30 Saturday evening.

He intended to be gone for just a few minutes.

Harkins said he rolled down all four windows and left a bowl of water for Tenga, a 5-year-old Corgi. He also said he checked on her twice and both times she was asleep on the front seat.

A police officer was summoned by a passerby who saw the small dog inside the car.

Since the temperature had been more than 100 degrees while the dog was left in the vehicle, the officer issued Harkins a citation for animal neglect and released him at the scene.

While Tenga is fine, Harkins said he regrets leaving her in the car and understands why he was cited.

Harkins said he wants to draw attention to the incident by airing a series of public service announcements in his theaters. The goal is to remind moviegoers not to leave their pets -- or their children -- in cars on hot days.

The temperature inside a closed vehicle on a summer day can soar to more than 140 degree in less than 15 minutes. It takes less time than that for hyperthermia, elevated body temperature, to set in.

That's why police encourage people to call 911 if they see a person leaving a child or a pet in a car during the hot summer months.