Every year hundreds of pets die because they were left unattended in a parked car. In just minutes an animal can suffer heatstroke, irreparable organ and brain damage and death. Even if you live in a state where the laws do not allow you to rescue the pet, you can still search nearby establishments to see if you can locate the driver.
This week police and animal services in Sarasota, Florida responded to a report of a dog locked in a car that was parked and not running. Police broke the rear window and rescued the dog. When they measured the internal temperature of the vehicle, it was 115 degrees inside. The owner claimed he had left the car running, but still received two citations.
Fortunately for the dog, Florida law prohibits leaving a pet unattended in a parked car, which allowed the police officer to enter the vehicle and rescue the pet. It also makes the violator subject to a $500 fine.
About thirty states have laws against leaving unattended pets in closed cars. Half of those (including Florida) allow officers to rescue a trapped animal. The other half also have “Good Samaritan” laws which allow civilians to do so, under certain conditions.
Most of us take our furry friends along for the ride because we enjoy their company, but we may have to make one or more stops at places that do not permit pets. And leaving your car running is NOT a good solution. As the Florida pet owner learned, if the car stops running, the pet is at the mercy of the heat.
So what might be an alternative to leaving your pet in the car? First on my list would be to bring a friend with you who can keep your buddy company while you run your errand. Another option would be to use the drive-through when available, and shop at pet-friendly stores that let you bring your furry companion along. Or, leave your pet at home, where it will be cool and comfortable – and safe.
Never ever leave an animal unattended in a closed parked car, even with the windows cracked, even for a few minutes. It may be convenient for you but it is cruel and inhumane and could result in a tragedy that is absolutely preventable.
The alternative is to ensure your pet stays happy and healthy, while you are running errands, by leaving your best friend safely at home, especially when you are speaking of pets.