TRAVERSE CITY — The dog days of summer aren't the best time to be a dog stuck inside a hot car.
Grand Traverse County dispatchers in June received at least 60 calls from concerned dog lovers who spotted what they believed to be hot or distressed canines inside vehicles.
But Jason Torrey, deputy director for Grand Traverse 911, urged caution before callers howl to authorities.
"The majority of them don't turn out to be that the dog is actually in danger," he said.
Sometimes authorities do suspect a dog owner's actions, or lack of thereof, count as criminal and pursue animal cruelty charges. In June, Grand Traverse prosecutors authorized three animal cruelty charges for cases in which suspects left parched and panting pooches behind closed windows under the sun.
One involved Kimberly Lynn Gough, 40, of Wisconsin, and Robert Richard Greenfield, 81, of Texas. They're accused of animal cruelty and assaulting a woman who tried to help their car-encased dog.
A police report states on June 8 a woman in an East Bay Township Bob Evans parking lot saw a dog hanging out of a narrowly-cracked BMW's window. The dog somehow squirmed free and trotted toward a nearby highway.
"She stated as she grabbed a hold of the dog, the dog was frothing from the mouth," the report states.
The woman told Grand Traverse County sheriff's deputies she believed she saved a dog "in obvious distress," but its owners -- Gough and Greenfield -- apparently didn't see it that way. The report states Gough punched the woman and Greenfield slammed her into a pillar near the restaurant's entrance.
"She added that it was done quite harshly and with a fair amount of force," the report states.
Gough and Greenfield couldn't be reached for comment. The report states they were inside the restaurant about 30 minutes and didn't believe they did anything wrong.