We all know that we should not leave living things we love in a parked car during the summer, even if it isn’t THAT hot.

Many studies have been done on how fast and how hot a car can get. The studies vary slightly in terms of the exact temperature but the consensus is that a car parked in either the shade or the sun with the windows cracked reaches deadly temperatures in about 15-20 minutes. How hot are deadly temperatures? REALLY HOT!

Here is a useful visual from livescience.com

image via livescience.com

Some years ago, I saw this video and now I ALWAYS think of it when traveling with my dog.

Before you go on your next road trip, be sure to plan ahead. Make sure to bring water and snacks and stuff, so you do not have to leave the dog to “just run in for a minute.” Better yet, travel with another human buddy who can stay in the car with the AC on to watch your dog. Don’t bring your dog with you to run errands like grocery shopping or the bank. I know we love our companions but if the activity has any possibility of your dog being left alone in the car, just leave them at home.

But really, we do all know this already. Right?

State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles

If you are thinking: “Well DUH I’d never leave my dog in the car, why do you even need to tell me? But what do I do if I see one in my local Target’s parking lot on a hot day?”

Great question!

28 states have some sort of laws on the books prohibiting pets from being left in hot cars or protecting people from liability to make an effort to rescue the pet in such a situation.

Advice from Figo Pet Insurance will keep you in the safe  and legal zone, no matter where you live.

Before you go and smash that window:

  1. Write down the  vehicle’s make, model and license plate number

  2. If the owner can’t be found at a nearby business, call the non-emergency number of your local police (or animal control) and wait with the vehicle until they arrive.

Check out this cool inforgraphic from Figopetinsurance.com

dogs in hot cars state laws



Citation & Link: NY Agri. & Mkts. § 353-d

Animals Covered: Companion animal

What is Prohibited: Confined in motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection where confinement places companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious injury due to exposure.

Penalty: Any person who knowingly violates this section is guilty of a violation:
1st offense – fine of not less than $50 not more than $100
2nd offense – fine of not less than $100 not more than $250

Rescue & Immunity Provisions: Police, peace officer, or peace officer acting as agent of humane society may take necessary steps to remove animal from vehicle. Will not be civilly or criminally liable if actions taken in reasonably good faith.


Citation & Link: N.J.S.A. 4:22-26

Animals Covered: A living animal or creature

What is Prohibited: Unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the living animal or creature.

Penalty: N/A

For the complete list of all the state laws and regulations visit animallaw.info  (at the time of writing this post, this resource was last updated in 2018)