IS IT ILLEGAL TO LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A PARKED CAR?

By Thursday, June 21, 2018 4 No tags Permalink

Is it illegal to leave your dog in a parked car? Believe it or not, the answer to that question depends on the state you live in…

IS IT ILLEGAL TO LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A PARKED CAR?

We all know the dangers of leaving “anything that breathes” in a car during the summer. We’ve read about it – talked about it – watched PSA’s and commercials warning us of the deadly outcome.

Some states will allow you to rescue an animal from a vehicle providing the conditions pose an imminent threat to the animal’s health or safety. This type of rescue (in the majority of those states) limit this law to those in law enforcement, firefights, animal control first responders and/or authorized humane officers.

Twelve states now allow ANY person to rescue a distressed animal. South Carolina isn’t one of them 🙁 #shocker

For the last week and then some, Charleston has been steamy. Heat and humidity together are “off the chain.” Dinner hour for the Boys has been pushed back from around 4-ish to more like 6-ish in hopes that the heat penetrating from the sidewalk concrete will be just a tad cooler on their paws.

Sweltering heat could be dangerous in parts of the Carolinas…

Sentences like this one have been monopolizing our local media newspapers and channels everyday.

Summer brings heightened concerns in our region and the laws about leaving pets in hot cars are way too vague.

FROM GROCERY STORE TO JAIL –

Miserable temperatures have drastically affected our appetites. We’re ALL eating twice as much fruit these days. As a result – replenishing the refrigerator crisper drawer occurs more often.

When we stop at the grocery store, one human shops and the other sits with the Boys under one of  three lovely benches outside the store…

IS IT ILLEGAL TO LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A PARKED CAR?

This was my day to sit and Doodle Dad’s day to shop.

Imagine my surprise when a van pulls up – the driver gets out – leaving his dog inside.

Initially I thought –

there must be another human inside because the air conditioner was still running.

Nope! Not the case.

The dog was jumping from seat to seat, barking up a storm and what I thought was air conditioning, turned out to be the engine motor fan cooling down…

IS IT ILLEGAL TO LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A PARKED CAR?

By now the driver was inside the store!!!

The lady sitting on the bench next to me was as appalled as I was, which united us in conversation. But what she told me took my breath away.

This beautiful city which I call home, one of the most pet friendliest cities in the country, where dogs go every-where (with the exception of grocery stores) has no laws against leaving dogs in parked cars during a heat advisory…

IS IT ILLEGAL TO LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A PARKED CAR?

With my hand close to the door handle, I saw my future – it wasn’t pretty. I was wearing overalls standing behind bars. My hand retracted before it reached the door handle. #keepingitreal

WHAT’S THE LAW? –

The law in South Carolina seems to vary from county to county. One county near Charleston has no specific ordinances protecting animals from the heat.

There are currently 28 states with laws that either prohibit leaving an animal in a car under dangerous conditions OR provide civil immunity for the person who rescues a distressed animal from said car.

Reading the Table of State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles was both enlightening and disappointing.

Listed by State, the table lists –

  • Citation
  • Which animals are covered
  • What’s prohibited
  • Each penalty
  • Rescue/ Immunity Provisions

My mouth remained open as I scrolled down to the State of South Carolina and found the entire row blank! #empty #clear #nada #nothing

ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I’M THINKING? –

NO! I’m not moving.

Although – New Hampshire makes a second conviction a felony offense! #mykindofplace

I’m thinking I’ve got to find out why MY state has no provisions in place to protect animals.

California made a change that –

 any person can take reasonable steps necessary to remove an animal from a car if that person had reasonable belief the animals safety is in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, food, water or other circumstances which could cause suffering, disability or death to the animal.

I can live with that!

I just want my state to do “something.” If they already have something in place, it’s not easy to find on the internet, and I won’t stop inquiring until I can find the answer.

When you get a chance, please check this list out – it’s an eye opener for sure. Know where your state stands – know how far you can go.

THE REST OF THE STORY –

Back to the four legged beauty in the van…

IS IT ILLEGAL TO LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A PARKED CAR?

The drivers side window was open half way. Not enough air – not in that heat.

I sat on the bench with the Boys waiting for Lee to come out. I fantasized how this would all end –

Lee would come out, see my frantic face, hold the leashes and watch me jimmy the door. As soon as I let the dog out, the driver would come running down the store steps towards me in full attack mode. Lee would hand the leashes to my new lady friend on the bench and tackle the man to the ground. His own dog would then pee on him and jump in the car with me, Lee and the Boys. #Iwatchtoomuchnetflix

Here’s what ACTUALLY happened –

By the time Lee came out of the store, so did the driver. I glared “dagger eyes” at him but he never looked my way. There was no sense in saying anything because we have NO laws to protect the animals! I’d have nothing to support my rant. He obviously wouldn’t have cared. After all – he left the dog in the car! #doodleit

He hopped in his van, drove off and so did we. No drama, no jail, just more fruit for the crisper drawer…

Please check your local state laws and know your legal position. I had no idea about mine.

Find time today for the things that make you fee happy to be alive ❤

4 Comments
  • Lynn Delage
    June 21, 2018

    I checked the list. I live in Texas and there evidently no laws on the books concerning penalties for leaving an animal in a car. I’m ashamed but not surprised.

  • Monika & Sam
    June 23, 2018

    Hand smack to forehead! Why on earth do people take their dogs ‘shopping’ with them? I just don’t get it. I have gone into stores and have asked managers to use the PA system to page the cretin who left their dogs unattended in a car. She was as appalled as I was and called the fire department who can break into vehicles to rescue pets with impunity. I can only hope karma strikes that van driver and delivers two flat tires at the same time. {Grrr}

  • sand spring chesapeakes
    June 25, 2018

    Thank you for this informative post! It just erks me to see pets in a vehicle with a inch of window down on a hot day.

  • Jan K
    July 7, 2018

    We just had a case here in NH (yay for my state doing some things right!) where a man left his two golden retrievers in a car while shopping. We were in the middle of a heat wave!!!
    I don’t know exactly what happened, but I do know the authorities arrived, the dogs were in distress (it was 128 degrees in the car!!), and they were rescued. The dogs are fine, and their owner is facing animal cruelty charges.
    This was a young man (22) and I know some people are new to having animals….but doesn’t anyone have any common sense anymore???
    I’m just so grateful your story, and this one, turned out OK for the dogs in these cases.

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