|Photo by deepwarren Foter CC BY-NC-SA|
By Stacey McIntyre-Gonzalez
Does being a Good Samaritan pay off? For Carla Cheney, a former employee of Wal-mart in Kemptville, Ontario it did not seem like it. On July 10, 2013 Cheney was fired from Wal-mart after she confronted a customer for leaving a dog in his truck.The reason for Cheney being fired is that she was allegedly rude to the customer.
Cheney had just a week prior called the SPCA on a customer who had left a dog in their vehicle. She had witnessed it along side her manager. When she asked her manager what she should do her manager advised her that it was none of her business and went inside the store.
On Tuesday Cheney witnessed another dog being left in a vehicle and the former Wal-mart pharmacy technician took action.
Cheney stated to CBC News that she hadn’t started her shift yet and was in fact in plain clothes and not wearing her Wal-mart vest. Cheney was sitting at a table with some fellow employees outside of the Kemptville Wal-mart when she witnessed the customer leaving his dog in a parked truck.
Paws For Reaction gets involved
Since the incident Cheney and Kemptville Wal-mart’s phones have been ringing off the hook with calls from concerned citizens. Cheney has received support from around the world, while Kemptville Wal-mart has received much back lash including a Facebook page titled “Animal Rights for Kemptville Wal-mart” with over 12, 000 members as of today. https://www.facebook.com/groups/355415201228556/
When I called the Kemptville Wal-mart (613-258-6295) this morning and asked to speak with a manager I received the reply “is it about the dog?” Without skipping a beat the young lady on the phone told me she needed to refer me to corporate.
After taking down the corporate phone number (1-800-328-0402) I asked if her manager was willing to listen to some information I have about dogs locked in cars in the summer time and that a dog can die in well under 20 minutes after being locked in. She told me that all of the managers are in meetings and again I was referred to the corporate number.
I called the corporate number and asked the person on the line what policies Wal-mart has in place for animal rights issues and if there was a procedure that Cheney had been trained on that would have prepared her for such a situation. Again I was transferred but this time I was completely cut off. So I called the number again and asked to be transferred- correctly- to the department handling the Kemptville situation. When I reached the woman on the other line I asked “So I was wondering if there is anything you do or have in place for animal rights issues like, say a dog being left in a car without the windows open? Do you guys have rules for those sorts of things?”
The response I got was “Uh for just one moment, I’ll have to call (inaudible name) I do you mind holding?”
Finally I spoke to Sylvie who due to privacy reasons refused to give me her last name. In a nutshell Sylvie told me the same thing that the statement said- that Cheney hadn’t been fired for trying to help the dog. When I asked what the reason for termination Sylvie stated “due to privacy policies for our employees I cannot give out the details.” It’s the answer I expected but I still needed to ask.
She told me about the about the charity work that Wal-mart has done in the past that concerns the animal right movement.
In the end I received no new information and spent the majority of my morning on the phone, just trying to find the right person to speak with. All I could do was ask for an email to send them some reading material I have that would educate them on the dangers of leaving a dog in a car.
As a journalist it is my job to stay unbiased and to avoid taking a stance or forming an opinion in the public. But as editor and chief of Paws For Reaction- I site created and nurtured through my love for animals- I can’t help but form an opinion. For those with concerns or those who have questions- or if you would like the email address Wal-mart gave me please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
At Paws For Reaction we hope that Carla Cheney stays brave and strong. We thank you Carla for standing up to those amazing animals that- if they had a voice- would thank you for acting on their behalf. It’s up to all of us to act when we see something. Don’t be afraid to take a stand and make your voice heard.
I leave you with this link from the OSPCA about Dogs and Heat. Send out this PDF and educate everyone on the dangers of leaving a dog in a hot car. http://www.ontariospca.ca/resource/publication/Brochures/Dogsandheat.pdf