The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Animal Legal Defense Fund Introduced a Windshield Sunshade People Can Use to Spread the Message Wherever They Park - Do Not Leave Dogs in Hot Cars

Monday, August 4, 2014

Animal Legal Defense Fund Introduced a Windshield Sunshade People Can Use to Spread the Message Wherever They Park - Do Not Leave Dogs in Hot Cars

Just a few minutes in a hot vehicle can harm or kill your pet. On hot days, the temperature inside a vehicle heats up to over 160 degrees in minutes. Parked cars quickly trap the sun's heat, and "cracking the windows" doesn't do much. Pets can't cool themselves the way humans can, and this makes them especially vulnerable to heatstroke. Too often, a neglectful dog owner goes into a store "just for a minute" only to find his dog dead in the car upon his return -- and such neglect carries serious legal consequences.

In June, an eight-year-old German shepherd named Elisha died in Belmont, California after being left in a truck in a motel parking lot for seven hours. Dogs who are trapped in cars pant heavily, pawing at the glass of rolled up windows, trying desperately to avoid the heat of the sun. They may experience excessive thirst, vomiting, seizures, increased heartbeat, and elevated body temperatures of 104 degrees and higher. According to media reports, officers on the scene tried to revive the shepherd with ice and water, to no avail. Elisha's owner -- who was sleeping in the motel while the dog was in the truck with no water -- is being charged with felony animal cruelty.

When an animal dies an excruciating death from negligence, writing off the tragedy as a simple accident is insufficient -- and criminal prosecution is just. Fifteen states have specific laws against leaving animals confined in vehicles: Arizona, California, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia. Rhode Island's brand new law was signed by Governor Lincoln Chafee this summer and is one of the most comprehensive of these laws, with the strongest penalties -- up to a year in jail and up to $1000 in fines. Vermont also allows sentences of up to a year in jail, while Vermont and West Virginia allow up to $2000 in fines.

That is why this summer the Animal Legal Defense Fund introduced a windshield sunshade people can use to spread the message wherever they park. The design reminds passersby that cars can be lethal to dogs, even on mild days. The sunshades are available for purchase.

If you see a dog in a parked car on a hot day, try to locate the owner and let her know that the situation is urgent; otherwise, call 911. Even in states without specific legislation on this issue, law enforcement officers should do whatever they can to free an animal suffering in those conditions. Your action on behalf of an animal can be the difference between life and death.

Take Action
By popular demand, ALDF has created this Dogs in Hot Cars Sunshade so that 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. Help us spread the word by using the social media links below.

Download & Print

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.

Learn More
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).

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.

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