An Avoidable Tragedy: Dogs in Hot Cars

Updated on January 25, 2016

Every summer, as temperatures rise, so does the danger of pets dying because careless owners left them in a hot car.

While humans cool themselves by relying on an extensive system of sweat glands and evaporation, dogs and other animals have a harder time staying cool, leaving them extremely vulnerable to heatstroke.

Parked cars quickly trap the sun’s heat. Even on a day when it’s 70 degrees outside, the temperature inside a car with all the windows closed can hit 90 degrees in just 10 minutes.

On a hot day, the temperature inside a closed car can shoot as high as 116 degrees in the same amount of time.

Leaving the windows open a crack doesn’t eliminate the danger of heatstroke or death.

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What You Can Do

Know the Law

Find your state’s current animal protection laws (doing a word search for “vehicle” is helpful).

Discover which state laws and city/county ordinances in your jurisdiction address leaving animals unattended in vehicles. The issue may be addressed specifically or by way of general abuse/neglect statutes.

Strengthen Your Laws

Approach your legislators about addressing the “hot car” problem and enabling emergency rescues.

Connect Your Local Law Enforcement Agencies with ALDF Resources

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

Raise Awareness

The ALDF Sunshade

ALDF created the Dogs in Hot Cars Sunshade so you can make a strong statement about protecting animals from the dangers of hot cars where they need it most—in parking lots across America.

Order your Dogs in Hot Cars Sunshade to protect animals wherever you park. All proceeds benefit the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Download & Share

Download this image to share on the social network of your choice.

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Download and print our flyer, and hang in grocery stores, cafes, laundromats, and other locations where people may leave dogs in hot cars. Many businesses will be happy to hang a flyer in their front window if you ask politely.

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Download & Print ALDF’s Dogs in Hot Cars Flyer

Download and print our flyer, and hang it in grocery stores, cafes, laundromats, and other locations where people may leave dogs in hot cars. Many businesses will be happy to hang a flyer in their front window if you ask politely.

And share the flyer with your local humane agencies to help them make the public aware of these laws.

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The majority of states do not have laws to protect dogs from being left in hot cars.

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