Help Prevent “Hot Car” Dog Fatalities

Posted by Scott Heiser, Director of ALDF's Criminal Justice Program on April 30, 2010

Asuncion Zapata was arrested on April 3, 2010
and is facing charges
of animal cruelty and animal
. Zapata allegedly left her dog alone in her parked car –
although police attempted to save the shepherd mix, their efforts
reportedly came too late and the comatose dog was ultimately euthanized.

“Hot car” dog fatalities are needless and
all-too-common. While humans cool themselves by relying on an extensive
system of sweat glands and evaporation, the cooling mechanisms of dogs
and other animals are much less efficient and leave them extremely
vulnerable to heatstroke. Parked automobiles quickly trap the sun’s heat
with interior temperatures rising to dangerous levels in a matter of
minutes, and “cracking the windows”
does not remove the danger of heatstroke
. The Los Angeles County
District Attorney’s office launched a public
awareness campaign
on this issue last year, education being the key
to lessening the frequency of these cruel and pointless deaths.

What You Can Do

  1. Discover which state laws and city/county ordinances in your
    jurisdiction address leaving animals unattended in vehicles. This issue
    may be addressed specifically or by way of general abuse/neglect
    statutes (for example, from Oregon: ORS 167.325).
    Find your state’s current
    animal protection laws
    (doing a word search for “vehicle” is

  2. Help your county and your local humane agencies to make the
    public aware of these laws by distributing flyers, asking your local
    newspapers to do a story on the problem, and encouraging your Department
    of Motor Vehicles to educate drivers on the issue of children and
    animals left unattended in vehicles.
    Find “Hot Car” literature
    and other resources

    Find your local animal
    protection organizations

    your local newspapers

    Find your state’s
    Department of Motor Vehicles

  3. Let your local authorities know that ALDF’s Criminal Justice
    attorneys offer training and resources to law enforcement
    agents on this and other animal law issues.

  4. Where necessary, approach your legislators toward specifically
    addressing the “hot car” problem and enabling emergency rescues.
    your local legislators

    with your legislators toward improving animal protection laws

    Get Political for Animals and Win the
    Laws They Need
    by Julie Lewin

3 thoughts on “Help Prevent “Hot Car” Dog Fatalities

  1. Sherry Powell says:

    My name is Sherry Powell I live in Las Cruces New Mexico. I love all animals and I think they should all be loved. The woman who left the dog in the car should be arrested. But most people think oh well it’s just a dog or just a cat but they have feelings like people do they have emotions like people do so what is there not to understand about taking care of your animals. This I won’t understand. Also here in the southwest part of New Mexico we have alot of Pitbull fighting. I own a fullbreed Pit and 3 half breeds they are the most loving and loyal dogs ever. I am trying to join Pitbull rescuers because I love the breed. Please keep me posted and I will help work our end of the country to help stop the crulty of all animals.

    Sherry Powell

  2. I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with everyone. The initiative taken for the concern is very serious and need an attention of every one. This is the concern which exists in the society and needs to be eliminated from the society as soon as possible.

  3. madison-paige says:

    hi im madison-paige and im 10 i want to change some law that the pepole who leave there dog in there car should never get them back because my mom went to wal mart and found a very very small male chihauha and where going to get that little chihauha so we can help it me and my mom already save over 900 cause my mom is in a boston terrier rescue and it fun cause you help animals in danger so bye keep posting!

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