SEATTLE - A small dog was rescued early Sunday after spending up to six days trapped in a car in a West Seattle parking lot without food or water, according to the Seattle Police Department.
Security guards at the QFC in Westwood Village noticed Zipper, a pug-beagle mix, shaking and frightened in the back of a car around 1 a.m. on Sunday and called 911.
One guard told police he believed the car had been parked in the same spot for at least six days and wasn't sure how long the dog had been alone in the car.
Zipper survived the potentially deadly mix of sun and cars, but the responding officer noted she could even see his ribs.
"The dog appeared frightened and was shaken and appeared to be in distress," says Seattle police spokeswoman Renee Witt.
Don Baxter, manager of animal care and volunteer programs for the Seattle Animal Shelter, said it was a bad combination for the little dog.
"Even on a relatively cool day it can get deadly in there for them," he said.
Police were unable to find the car's owner because it had been recently sold, so they removed Zipper and handed him over to the Seattle Animal Shelter after the store's security guards gave him food and water.
Despite the dog's distress, the man responsible for caring for it hasn't been charged. Investigators say he's the owner's boyfriend, who was taking care of Zipper while the owner is away.
Now police are trying to figure out how long the dog had been left alone without something to eat or drink.
"That's a big concern for us, and that would actually be animal neglect," said Witt.
"We're going to have a conversation with this individual, try to educate them about the proper care for the dog and let them know that it's not acceptable to leave a dog inside a car on a warm day like today," added Baxter.
A lesson learned as weather gets warmer, a dog possibly cheats death and police try to figure out if something criminal took place.