Guest blogger Stacie Tamaki is a Dogster member and guardian of Kitai. We encourage you to follow her example and report dogs left in hot cars. By taking just a couple of minutes to inform a security guard or call the police, you could save a life.
In California it is now illegal to leave a dog in a hot car. In 2006 Gov. Schwarzenegger signed SB 1806:
“SB 1806 makes it a crime for a person to leave a pet unattended in a vehicle in a way that endangers the well-being of the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering or death. Unless the animal suffers great bodily injury, a first misdemeanor conviction for this crime is punishable by a fine of $100 or less per animal. If the animal suffers great bodily injury, the punishment is a fine of $500 or less, a sentence of up to six months in county jail, or both. A person convicted of felony animal cruelty is subject to a fine of $20,000 or less, time in state prison, or both.”
The bill was passed in 2006 and became a law in 2007. Last year I saw a police officer at a mall and because he was waiting for his partner to get a cup of coffee I approached him and asked if they had ever used the law yet. He was really nice and said he had heard there was a law but no, he had not responded to an incident of a dog in danger at that point in time.
He didn’t know the specifics of the law, so it may be a good idea, if you live in California, to make a copy of the statute or the article at the link above to show the police if you ever see a dog in distress and they are reluctant to do anything about it.
I find the place I most often see dogs in parked cars is at the mall, in which case I contact mall security to let them know. Even if the sun isn’t on the car at that moment, we all know that could change if the car remains for an extended period of time. Last year I called them 3 times, and for the record, none had the air conditioning running.
For those who live in states that don’t have this type of law, you could always forward a copy to your legislators and ask them to pass a similar bill where you live.