PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Portland woman said when she heard a tiny dog's cries coming from a hot car on Friday, she had no other choice but to take action.
Shawna Harch said she is an animal lover and she's previously worked at an animal hospital and knows how dangerous the heat can be.
On Sunday she was still scratched up and bruised from saving the small dog from a hot car near Northwest 9th Avenue and Hoyt Street.
"I still have a cut and my knuckles are kind of black," Harch said.
She said she had just parked her car and was at the parking meter when she heard barking.
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Harch followed the sound and looked inside a parked Mercedes.
"There was a dog inside a crate with all the windows rolled up," she said.
The only source of air was a crack in the moon roof.
"My heart sank. There was a pit in my stomach," said Harch.
She said she asked around at all the nearby businesses to see if she could track down the owner. She had no luck. Then she called police, but she said she was told it would possibly take a while. So she decided to try to get the owner's attention another way.
"I was hitting the car. I was shaking it, doing everything I could to just get the alarm to go off," Harch said.
Again, she had no luck. She got creative.
"I got this out of my car and I went over to the vehicle," said Harch as she held a car jack.
She said she started hitting the car window.
"I was just gripping it like this and swinging it basically like a baseball bat," she said.
After people walking nearby told her to hit the corner of the window, it finally shattered and she got the dog out.
"I think it was part Pomeranian or Chihuahua," said Harch.
Soon after, the dog's owners came out of nearby apartments. They were stunned and thought the dog would have enough air. Harch said they thanked her.
"People just don't understand the dangers of leaving animals in hot cars," Harch said.
Her message to people who may run into a similar situation?
"Be brave and do the right thing," she said.
Lucky for Harch, an Oregon law was just signed in the day before that allows people to break into a hot car to save a child or animal without getting in trouble with police.
We reached out to local law enforcement. Their advice was to call 911. The Washington County Sheriff's Office said if someone does break into a car to save a pet or child, make sure police know your positive intentions before they show up.
Harch also wrote a blog post detailing what happened.
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