Instances of Pets Locked in Hot Cars Soar with Summer Temperatures
Temperatures are rising throughout the country with the coming of summer, and with the rising heat, instances of pets being trapped in hot cars are on the rise as well. In fact, some states are report that over two dozen cases have been reported over the last month, and in some cases, the pet required medical attention as a result. In most cases, the illness caused to the pet was not due to intended abuse but ignorance, as many pet owners are unaware how hot the interior of a car can get, and how quickly.
Temperatures Inside Vehicles Rise Within Minutes
Some owners believe it’s not harmful to leave their pet in a locked car, especially when they’ll only be inside a store for ten or fifteen minutes. However, what they might not know is that even in the shade, the temperature of a car’s interior can rise within fifteen to twenty minutes. In fact, even when the temperature is in the low 80s, the temperature inside a locked car can reach over 100 degrees in less than half an hour. A dog or cat can suffer from heatstroke in a very short time because their bodies don’t have any sweat glands. Instead, they cool themselves down by panting, and the harder they pant, the more distressed they can become. Hundreds of animals die each year when they are left behind or forgotten by their owners, and several states in across the U.S. have now begun legislature to make this action illegal.
Are Laws Changing?
As of 2015, sixteen states have made it illegal to leave an animal confined in a parked car, no matter what the weather. In most states, breaking this law is a misdemeanor and comes with a fine. In addition, police officers, animal control officers, and fire and EMT personnel may all break into the car, which includes breaking the glass, to release the animal. Some states that currently enforce these laws include Nevada, New York, South Dakota, California, and New Jersey. Other states that are currently filing laws to prevent the suffering of animals that are left in parked cars include North Carolina and Texas. While there are some animal cruelty laws in place that protect dogs and cats, there are no specific laws that prevent owners from leaving them in parked car.
Keeping Pets Safe
While it is not illegal to leave an animal in a parked car in many states, there are steps animal owners can take to keep their pets safe. First and foremost, they should leave their pets at home with fresh water in temperatures that exceed eighty degrees. If they must travel with their pets, they should be removed from the car at rest stops and be offered fresh water each time. Even if a pet enjoys riding in a car, if the owners plan on making any stops, the dog or cat should be left at home to ensure its health and safety.
Summary: Hundreds of animals die each year when they are left behind or forgotten by their owners, and several states in across the U.S. have now begun legislature to make this action illegal.