Here’s What You Should Do If You See a Dog Trapped in a Hot Car
Lifestyle| | By Steven Lerner
With rising temperatures, pet owners must be reminded to keep unattended animals out of hot cars. Just as humans can’t survive the extreme conditions, there is nothing more disheartening than seeing a dog left alone in a hot car.
But what if you were walking outside on a hot summer day and you happened to spot a dog left in a hot car? You might be wondering what is the safe temperature to leave a dog in car? Or perhaps you’re wondering if it is illegal to leave a dog in the car? And you might be thinking about breaking into the car to rescue the trapped dog.
Here’s exactly what you need to do the next time to see a dog left in a hot car.
The Damage to a Dog Left in a Hot Car
When it gets hot outside, leaving an animal alone in a sweltering car could be a death sentence. According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), it takes just 15 minutes for animals to receive a serious brain injury or get heatstroke while trapped in a vehicle. It is especially dangerous for dogs because they can only cool themselves by panting. It doesn’t take much time for tragedy to strike.
The Legalities of Keeping Animals in Vehicles
Thanks to numerous awareness campaigns, the law is beginning to catch up with the times. As of 2017, at least 29 states have laws on the books that prohibit leaving animals unattended in cars. These are known as “hot car” laws.
Despite the new laws, some pet owners still break them.
Here’s What You Should Do in This Situation
If you see a dog left inside of a hot car, you must take immediate action. According to the Humane Society, you should write down the car’s make and model and license plate number. From there, you should contact nearby businesses to try to track the owner. If you cannot find the owner, contact the local police to see if they can open the car.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund says that nine states now have “Good Samaritan” laws that allow you to break into the car to save the animal. Those states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
If you are not in one of those states, the best practice is to quickly contact the police and let them handle it.
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