A Friend to Fido: Protecting Dogs in Hot Vehicles

Most dogs relish the opportunity to ride shotgun, savoring every moment with their heads out the window and their noses sniffing the breeze. But a fun car ride can become deadly when pets are left alone in hot cars.

Like most Berkeley County residents, we consider pets a part of the family here at West Law Firm. That’s why we’re doing our part to remind locals that leaving a pet alone in the car is never a wise idea – especially as summer approaches and temperatures soar.

Too Hot to Handle

Even in 70° weather, a pleasant spring day by South Carolina standards, parked vehicles can heat up to 100° in just 20 minutes. Estimates show that interior temperatures rise about 19° in 10 minutes, 29° in 20 minutes and a staggering 34° in half an hour.

While rolling the windows down while you’re driving is a fun treat for Fido, the American Veterinary Medical Association reports that cracking the windows does virtually nothing to prevent a car’s temperature from climbing dangerously high when parked.

Legislation Varies By State

31 states have specific laws that prohibit leaving a pet inside a parked car in unsafe conditions – or provide protection from lawsuits for those who rescue a pet in danger. Unfortunately, South Carolina is not one of them.

14 states have gone even further to protect pets, passing Good Samaritan laws that grant concerned citizens permission to use “any means necessary” to save an animal in distress.

But that doesn’t mean that our state’s irresponsible pet parents are off the hook. Even without specific legislation addressing dogs in hot cars, perpetrators can still be charged with animal cruelty.

How to Help a Distressed Pet

While South Carolina laws won’t protect you from breaking into a vehicle to rescue a distressed dog, there are some steps you can take. If you spot an animal in a hot car, do the following:

  • Try to find the vehicle’s owner.

If the car is in a parking lot, write down the make, model and license plate number before going inside the business and asking them to make an announcement. This is a quick way to find the owner in busy places like grocery stores, restaurants and shopping malls.

  • Call the police or animal control.

Save the contact information for the local police department and animal control in your phone so you are prepared.

  • Wait until help arrives.

After reporting the incident, stay near the vehicle until authorities arrive. If the pet is upset, do your best to calm them down with some comforting words.

West Law Firm is committed to serving Berkeley County families, including their four-legged members! And with summer right around the corner, we wanted to remind you of these safety tips.

Our team is always here to help, no matter the season. To schedule a free consultation at our Moncks Corner, SC office, give us a call at 843-761-5626 or click here!

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