Police were forced to smash the window of a £25,000 electric car to save a dog trapped inside during the record heatwave.
Officers intervened after a member of the public spotted the trapped pet on Oxendon Street, in central London, on Monday, as temperatures soared past 37C.
The owner of another dog is facing animal cruelty charges after police smashed a car window to rescue it fin Barnet.
John Thompson, 35, spotted the dog in Oxendon Street, Westminister, along with other bystanders in the early evening and caught the moment police arrived to free the animal on camera.
He said: “I was just immediately scared for the dog and thought ‘Come on, it’s the hottest day of the year’.
“The dog was panting on the passenger seat and then moved down to where the pedals are because it was cooler at the bottom.”
Temperatures reached 38.1C in Santon Downham, Suffolk, on Monday, while 37C was exceeded in several places, including the capital. The UK also recorded its hottest night ever.
Concerned members of the public alerted the police and were informed that if the dog was still panting in the next five to 10 minutes they could smash the window of the Hyundai Ioniq.
However, officers arrived within that time and attempted to use batons and a hammer to break the glass before resorting to a car window breaker to get inside the vehicle.
Mr Thompson said: “I was just walking along and saw the dog in a car by itself.
“Two people from the theatre next to the car had spotted it as well and somebody else in a van said they had been watching it for about 10 minutes.
“One of the people from the theatre called 999 and the call handler said if it was still there and panting in the next five to 10 minutes then they could smash the window.
Watch: How to tell when your dog is having a heat stroke
“They went back into the theatre and came back with a hammer and by that point it had been 15 minutes – someone said it takes 15 minutes for a dog to succumb to heatstroke.
“They were just about to smash the glass when the police turned up. They checked the air con which wasn’t on and then tried to smash it with a baton and the hammer which just bounced off but after using a little glass breaker it smashed immediately.
“The owner turned up. They argued back and forth for 10 minutes or so until the police took the dog and put it in the back of their car with the air-con on.
“The woman was really upset because she thought they were taking the dog but the police returned the dog and they left in their car with one window smashed.”
The Metropolitan Police said: “At 6.16pm on Monday 18 July police were alerted by a concerned member of the public to a dog inside a car with the windows closed in Oxendon Street, SW1.
“The dog, which had allegedly been in the car for some time, appeared to be suffering in the heat.
“Officers attended and broke a window to gain entry to the dog and the owners of the car were spoken to and their details taken.
“The dog appeared in good health once it had been released from the car.”
Another dog owner was reported for animal cruelty after officers were forced to smash the window of a car at the RAF Museum in Hendon, north London, on Monday.
The Barnet MPS Twitter account wrote: “Unbelievably, our officers have just had to smash the window of a vehicle to get a dog out at the RAF museum Hendon. 31.5 degrees! “Just don’t take dogs out in this heat.”
It added the following day: “The person who left the dog in a vehicle yesterday (no, it wasn’t a Tesla on dog mode) has been reported for animal cruelty.”
Police were also called to Battersea Park in London last week after members of the public witnessed a dog locked inside a black Mercedes minivan without any of the windows open.
Officers were forced to smash one of the vehicle’s windows to rescue the animal before it was reunited with its owner a couple of hours later.
Additional reporting by SWNS