Latest News 2017 October It's Legal to Rescue Dogs in Hot Cars in California

It's Legal to Rescue Dogs in Hot Cars in California

For California, Arizona, and other states in the Southwest facing record high temperatures, heat isn't just uncomfortable—it's a major health concern. Pet owners in these sun-soaked states need to consider how the heat affects their dogs as well, and need to come up with a plan for how to keep their dog cared for if they decide to keep them in the car. Otherwise, California law may make the decision for them.

In January, lawmakers in California passed a law allowing passerby to break car windows if they are concerned for an animal kept in a locked vehicle. The law would legally exempt the passerby from the normal charges for breaking a car window, namely trespassing and property damage. The only requirement? The concerned passerby would need to contact the authorities first. You would then be required to wait with the animal until animal control, the fire department, law enforcement, or any other emergency service shows up.

In addition, the time the owner spent away from the vehicle is irrelevant—thus allowing the rescuer to help any dog in danger, regardless of how long the dog might have been there. However, the animal does have to be in real danger. The dispatch person would likely ask the rescuer if the dog is in clear danger or is unconscious.

Considering that Southern Californians love bringing their dogs with them around town and leave them in the car for certain stops or errands, this law may prove to be a difficult one to actually practice. Critics of the law note that it doesn't account for when a driver disputes the amount of time they actually left their pet in the vehicle. It also doesn't account for the differences between passerby's understandings of "clear danger."

All the same, we are certainly glad to see California take steps to address a potentially dangerous practice as the seasonal temperature climbs.

Categories: Pet Safety