Actually, forget it. If you're in Florida, summer is already here. Temperatures are in the 80s and they will only go up from here. So will that wretched heat index.
We are now in that period where leaving your pets in the car is dangerous, maybe even deadly.
In 2016, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that will protect people who damage a hot vehicle to rescue a human or a pet from criminal liability or lawsuits. But that doesn't mean you should just go charging in, breaking windows.
Find out what steps you need to take if you find yourself in this situation.
How hot can it get inside a car?
Some people say, "oh, I'm only leaving the dog for a few minutes."
Lets review how hot it can get in a car.
Even if it's 70 degrees outside, temperatures can rise over the course of an hour to over 100 degrees inside the car.
And for the record:
- Dogs only sweat through their foot pads
- Cracking the window does not make the car cooler
- Neither does putting it under a tree or other shade
Florida lawmakers passed HB 131 in 2016. The bill is now law in the state.
The law protects a person from criminal or civil liability if they damage a car in an attempt to rescue a vulnerable person (like a kid or a disabled adult), or a pet, according to Staff Analysis.
But that does not mean that if you come across a car with a pet inside that you should just take a pipe to the window. There are some steps you still need to follow.
- Try to find the owner of the vehicle
- Make sure the vehicle definitely locked and there is no way for the pet or person to get out
- Notify law enforcement or call 911 and make sure they know you may try to break into the car
- Make sure it is absolutely necessary to do so
- Use no more force than necessary to break into the car
- Stay with the pet or person until law enforcement or a first responder arrives
|Lulu loves to ride in the car. But I never leave her in the car if I can help it.|
In Florida, a person can be arrested or fined for leaving a dog in a hot car to the point of being in danger. Animal cruelty is the charge. But it's not necessarily an easy thing to prove animal cruelty. Efforts to create a specific charge for leaving a dog in a hot car did not make it through the legislature this year.
If you're not in Florida, Animal Legal Defense Fund has a list of laws in different states that involve pets in unattended vehicles. You can find it on their website.
So be on the lookout for dogs and people trapped in a hot car. And stay cool this summer.