Leaving pets in hot cars in Nevada can get you six months jail or US$1,000 fine
Laws that are implemented to raise awareness in this ever-changing society is a good way to urge us to be more watchful. This state in the U.S.A has introduced a new law that serves as a reminder to pay attention to those under our care—especially our pets.
The RSPCA reports that at 22 degrees outside, which we don’t think of as hot, can reach up to 47 degrees inside a car within an hour. The state of Nevada is implementing a no-tolerance attitude regarding pets being left in hot cars and has passed a law that makes it a criminal offense.
“Senate Bill 409 passed in the last legislative session raised the penalty for leaving a pet in a hot, locked car to the same level as leaving a child in the car,” says Cathy Brooks, owner of The Hydrant Club.
Anyone found guilty of leaving their dog stuck in a hot car could face either six months behind bars or a US$1,000 (approx. £784) fine. The news has been announced as a heatwave hits the UK. Dog owners are also being warned of the hot pavements as it can burn their paws.
RSPCA gives the following advice on its website:
1. Establish the animal’s health/condition. If they’re displaying any signs of heatstroke, dial 999 Immediately.
2. If the situation becomes critical for the dog and the police are too far away/unable to attend, many people’s instinct will be to break into the car to free the dog. If you decide to do this, please be aware that without proper justification, this could be classed as criminal damage and, potentially, you may need to defend your actions in court.
3. Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do, why, and take images/footage of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident. The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971).
If the dog you spot does not seem to be exhibiting signs of heatstroke, the charity advises that you try to establish how long it has been in the car and stay with it to monitor his or her condition for any changes in breathing.
You can also call the RSPCA cruelty line for advice anytime on 0300 1234 999. However, if the dog is in danger, dialing 999 should always be your first port of call.
In the UK, anyone found guilty of leaving their dog alone in a vehicle on a hot day could be charged under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The maximum penalty for neglect or cruelty to animals is 51 weeks in prison, and/or a fine of up to £20,000.