It was Halifax police who let the dogs out — and then fined their owner almost $1,750 for allegedly leaving them in a sweltering car.
Passersby spotted the dogs at 12:40 p.m. Thursday on Clyde Street, near the corner of Queen Street near the city's downtown library, and called police.
"The caller indicated they had observed the dogs in the car for about five minutes," police spokeswoman Cindy Bayers said Friday.
"The dogs appeared to be in distress, though the window was open slightly, and enough for officers to open the door to let the two dogs out. ... They put them in shade and gave them some water."
The owner returned at 1:30 p.m., and police handed out two $697.50 fines for leaving the dogs in an unattended vehicle in potentially distressful conditions, and a third ticket for $352.50 for having an unlicensed dog.
Bayers said people should leave pets at home, use a drive-thru, bring a friend to stay with them, or shop at pet-friendly stores.
A passerby who spots an animal in distress should not, she said, smash the window, as popular social media posts suggest.
"What we tell people to do when they see a pet in immediate distress is to call 911 and take directions from the call taker at that point," she said.
"When people act to break a window, which is what people seem to think is the common response, they open themselves up to issues. There could be charges in terms of damage to property."