Penalties for Leaving Pets in Your Car

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MEDFORD, Ore. — On a hot summer day extra pails of water and kiddie pools are helping the animals at the Southern Oregon Humane Society beat the heat. And a hot day outside, means it’s even hotter inside your car.

“Already too hot just to be outside walking your dog, let alone leave it in your car,” says Executive Director of the Humane Society, Kenn Altine. Officials say there are no excuses for leaving a pet in a car, “15 minutes, 10 minutes – that’s all it takes.”

We wanted to see just how hot it would get inside of a car, so we put it to the test with this thermometer in the backseat where your pet would likely be. Then, we shut the door and waited. We didn’t have to wait long. In just five minutes time the mercury rose from 92 to 106. In 10 minutes, 110 degrees.

“They cannot get out of that car, they quickly, quickly, quickly get overheated,” Ken goes on to explain. “The temperature will zoom up, it is a horrible thing to do to an animal.”

More than that, it’s a criminal act. Medford police say a pet owner could be charged with “animal neglect” for leaving their animal in the hot car. If something happens to the animal in that time they may face “animal abuse”. That’s where you come in.

Lt. Mike Budreau says, “We have a lot of people out there who are looking for their stuff and report it rather quickly; we arrive on scene, and sometimes we do have to perform a rescue and if the car is locked we will have to break a window to save the animal.”

Police say you should also take reasonable action to find the car and pet’s owner.

“While we’re responding, you’re going to want to contact the business the vehicles at,” Budreau explains. “Usually it’s at a business, to try to make some kind of announcement on the loud speaker to get the person out because the priority is saving the animal, not the criminal charges.”

Humane Society officials say instead of facing charges, leave your pet at home staying cool.


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  1. Tim says:

    I always look for animals locked in cars on hot days and call the cops first and let them know, then try to find the owner. I think along with criminal charges, the owner should be made to wear a fir suit and spend the same and spend the same amount of time in there car.

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