Animal welfare experts say that if the trio hadn’t got the distressed border collie to safety as soon as they did, he could have died.
As it was the black and white pet was taken away by the RSPCA and is now recovering, while one of its saviours - APCOA assistant contract manager Kevin Sumner - was left to inform the furious and unrepentant owner when he finally returned to his vehicle after three hours.
The drama unfolded on Tuesday morning in the town centre’s Galleries multi-storey. A member of public contacted the car park company’s office to say a dog had been shut in a Citroen C1 for some considerable time and appeared to be in trouble.
Each window had been opened an inch and the car was in the shade, but Mr Sumner says the temperature inside the car park was more than 28 degrees and considerably hotter inside the car.
He and wardens Chris Dingsdale and Elaine Stewart first rang the police but they recommended the RSPCA deal with the issue. While waiting for help, they were advised to try to help the dog.
Mr Sumner said: “The dog was not looking good in there. It was listless and unresponsive. We got a bottle and made a hole in the top so we could squirt water inside just to cool the dog down. It didn’t respond at first but then lifted its head and we were able to squirt water into its mouth.
“Even though the car was in the shade it was incredibly hot inside and we were authorised to get into it. We were able to make the window gap big enough for Chris to get her arm inside and open the door. The RSPCA officer arrived after about an hour and took the dog away. They said that if we had left him in there and not done anything until the officer arrived the dog might have died.
“The RSPCA left a note for the driver who turned up after they had gone, almost exactly three hours after parking up. He was very irate, saying I had no right to contact the police and the RSPCA; it was his dog and it was perfectly fine.
“I was just happy to inform him that he didn’t have a dead dog on his hands. I would add that any animal found left in any vehicle, seen by any APCOA employee whilst doing their duties on the car parks will be acted upon in the same manner in order to ensure its safety.”
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “We were called to a multi-storey car park in Wigan on Wednesday (27 June) to a dog who had been left in a car. Police were also called and the dog was removed from the vehicle and taken to a local vet. The dog is doing well and is currently in our care. The RSPCA is now investigating so we can’t give any more information at this time.”
Witness Tony Hupton said: “Traffic wardens often get a bad press but they were magnificent. If they hadn’t acted that dog could have died.”