A man has been charged after leaving his dog in a hot car in a Markham shopping plaza.

A passerby noticed the animal in distress at a parking lot at Markham Road and Castlemore Avenue at around 10 a.m. and phoned York Regional Police.

Officers arrived on scene and called a tow truck to remove the door of the vehicle to free the animal.

The owner emerged while the tow truck was on route and freed the animal.

Police said the dog was ok after getting some fresh air and water.

A high of 26 C was expected in Markham Thursday according to Environment Canada, though temperatures can quickly get hotter inside closed vehicles.  

The man has now been charged with causing an animal to be in distress – a provincial offence under the OSPCA Act.

Police said the dog was handed over to a relative of the owner who came to the scene and is expected to be alright.

Police later tweeted about the incident and implored people to leave pets at home rather than bringing them along on errands if it means they will have to wait in a hot vehicle.