You see a dog trapped in a hot car: what can you do?
The Massachusetts State Police conducted a demonstration in 2021 to show how quickly temperatures rise inside a sealed vehicle. On an 80 degree day, that thermometer shot up to 120 degrees in just 9 minutes. (Boston Herald/Getty Images)
It’s warm again and the dangers of leaving a child or pet in a hot car are now – or should be – well known. Of course, children should never be left unattended, and many states have recognized the need to specifically prohibit this practice in pets.
Keep in mind that temperatures inside a sealed car can reach 115 degrees even on a mild 70 degree Celsius day National Road Safety Authorityespecially when the car is dark Color. And it has been shown that breaking the windows does not make enough of a difference.
That’s what the National Security Council says 33 children died from heat stroke in cars in 2022 – and two have died so far this year. And the American Veterinary Association says that hundreds of pets die in hot cars every year. Leave your pets at home in warm weather.
Of course, some newer EV models may like that Tesla and Rivian have a pet mode that keeps the AC on, keeping pets cool while parked. Here’s an explanation of how Tesla’s feature works. ford Is working on a patent a similar function. Some newer cars, like certain models of Hyundai, SubaruAnd Nissan, have a rear seat occupant alert that sounds an audible alarm if it detects interior movement after the driver locks the vehicle. This was originally intended to protect children, but could also apply to pets. But most cars on the road don’t have these failsafes.
Thirty-one states have laws protecting animals in vehicles. At least 19 states (plus Washington DC) have laws that make it illegal to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle during extreme temperatures or other life-threatening conditions, and violators can be charged with animal cruelty. These states are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- new York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
In 21 states (plus DC), authorities such as police, fire departments or animal welfare authorities are allowed to force open a car to save an animal. This typically involves breaking a window.
In addition, many states have Good Samaritan laws that exempt passers-by from liability if they help someone in need. In the following 13 states, these laws include: Rescuing a Pet from a Hot Car:
Indiana has a similar law – but requires the Good Samaritan to pay for half of the damage done to the vehicle.
If you come across a pet in distress in a vehicle…
- It is necessary that you first notify the authorities before attempting a rescue yourself.
- In many cases, the laws are written in language that says the rescuer must have a “reasonable belief” that the animal is in imminent danger, so there’s some subjectivity here. In case you need to explain what you’re doing, it might be useful to record a short video of the situation with your phone.
- Some laws state that a rescuer should not use more force or cause more damage than is necessary.
- And some states have different thinking about which species can be saved. Some only cover dogs and cats, while others refer to animals more generally. Other states exclude livestock.
For a complete list of what’s allowed in all 50 states and what’s in your state’s laws, go here: Check out this list from Michigan State University’s Animal Legal & Historical Center. Ironically, many of the states that don’t have laws on the subject are in the hot South and Midwest, although those states probably do generally Animal Cruelty Laws.
Finally, the two major automaker groups that supply the US market have agreed to introduce rear occupant warning as standard new cars by 2025. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers includes the bmw Group, FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company, General Motorsjaguar land rover, Mazda, Mercedes Benz UNITED STATES, Mitsubishi engines, Porsche, Toyota, Volkswagen Group of America And Volvo. The Association of Global Automakers includes Aston Martin, Bosch, Byton, Denso, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Isuzu, Local Motors, Maserati, McLaren, NissanPSA North America, Subaru, Suzukiand Toyota.