We’ve all seen it…a dog left alone in a parked car on a hot summer day. Even if the window is cracked and the car is parked in the shade, a dog is at risk of heat-related illness and even death when left in a hot (or not so hot) car. Did you know that even when it’s 70 degrees outside, the interior temperature of a closed car can reach 90 degrees in just a few minutes?
What should you do to rescue a dog you see left in a hot car…without getting in trouble for breaking someone’s car window? The Animal Legal Defense Fund has some very helpful advice for concerned animal lovers across the US. Here’s a rundown of their expert tips:
- Call 911 so that the police can come and break into the car if necessary.
- Know your state’s “hot car” laws. Many states have different variations of this type of law, with more being enacted all the time. Some states have “good Samaritan” laws which allow citizens to break windows to save pets. In other states, only official personnel like law enforcement or animal welfare officers can do this. Some states have made it illegal to leave an animal in a hot car, although the penalties tend to be on the lenient side.
- Speak up. When you see someone walk away from a dog left in a car, politely inform them of the dangers of leaving an animal in a hot car.
- Get a sunshade and flyers to spread the word. The Animal Legal Defense Fund sells sunshades (all proceeds benefit the ALDF) with a message warning of the dangers of dogs in hot cars in bold letters that can be seen from a distance. You can also download printable flyers with the warning message. Get them HERE!