This time of year it is particularly concerning that anyone would leave their pet in a vehicle even with the windows open an inch or two. In a short time, the temperature in the vehicle even in the shade can rise quickly putting the pet in danger.
How heat affects pets
In an independent study when the outside temperature was between 72 to 96 degrees it was shown that in 10 minutes the vehicle was 19 degrees hotter than the outside temperature, in 20 minutes the inside temperature had increased 29 degrees! See https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Estimated-Vehicle-Interior-Air-Temperature-v.-Elapsed-Time.aspx In a very short time, the animal could suffer a heat stroke.
In addition, high humidity reduces the pet’s ability to cool itself and its temperature can quickly rise to unhealthy levels. Some signs of heatstroke are heavy panting, glazed eyes, difficulty breathing, lethargy, lack of coordination, a deep red or purple tongue, seizures and unconsciousness.
Laws about cruelty to animals
If you see an animal in a vehicle on a hot day that appears to be suffering, call the local police or animal control. These officers have more authority to rescue the animal than you.
If you are interested in knowing whether your locality has an ordinance regarding cruelty to animals, visit http://www.municode.com. The City of Richmond’s ordinance can be found at http://www.richmondgov.com/AnimalControl/AnimalControl.aspx
About The Author: Melinda South has been a lawyer with Allen & Allen for almost 30 years. She is an experienced legal researcher, assisting in the preparation of firm briefs and legal directives.