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Hot Car Legislation

created using Education Basic template
published by Matthew Russell

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DOES YOUR STATE PROTECT ANIMALS IN HOT CARS?
As of July 2016, 21 states have passed "hot car" legislation
Where do you live?
Each state defines the animals protected under its laws, if at all, and what conditions constitute breaking the hot car law. Some come with hefty fines and even jail time for repeat offenders
In some states, only police are allowed to break into vehicles to rescue animals. Six states have "Good Samaritan" laws that allow the same protection against prosecution for ordinary citizens.
It is a class 1 misdemeanor to leave an animal “unattended and confined in a motor vehicle and physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result.”
Arizona
A.R.S. § 13-2910
A peace officer, animal control enforcement agent or animal control enforcement deputy may use reasonable force to open a vehicle to rescue an animal.
It is illegal to "leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal."
California
Cal. Penal Code § 597.7
A peace officer, humane officer, or animal control officer is authorized to take all steps that are reasonably necessary for the removal of an animal from a motor vehicle. But the officer must leave written notice bearing his or her name and office, and the address of the location where the animal can be claimed.
A first offense for endangering an animal's health in California comes with a $100 fine per animal. If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 6 months, or by both. Any subsequent violation of this section, regardless of injury to the animal, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both.
Delaware
11 Del.C. § 1325(b)(6)
In Delaware, it is illegal to confine an animal, which does not include fish, crustaceans, or mollusks, "unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in which the temperature is either so high or so low as to endanger the health or safety of the animal."
A law enforcement officer, animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator, or firefighter who has probable cause to believe that an animal is confined in a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal may use reasonable force to remove the animal left in the vehicle in violation of this provision. A person removing an animal under this section shall use reasonable means to contact the owner. If the person is unable to contact the owner, the person may take the animal to an animal shelter and must leave written notice bearing his or her name and office, and the address of the location where the animal can be claimed.
Under Florida's "Good Samaritan" law, a person who enters a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a domestic animal is immune from civil liability for damage if the person:
Determines the motor vehicle is locked or there is otherwise no reasonable method to remove animal Has a good faith and reasonable belief, based on circumstances, that entry is necessary because the domestic animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm notifies law enforcement or 911 before entering motor vehicle (or immediately thereafter) Uses no more force than necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove domestic animal Remains with domestic animal in reasonable proximity to motor vehicle until law enforcement or other first responder arrives
Florida
West's F. S. A. § 768.139
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Illinois
In Illinois, it is illegal to "confine any animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life or health threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold."
510 ILCS 70/7.1
A person convicted of violating this Section is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation is a Class B misdemeanor.
An animal control officer, law enforcement officer, or Department investigator has authority to enter a vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible.
Maine
7 MRSA § 4019
It is prohibited to endanger an animal's safety in Maine, to the point that its "health or well-being appears to be in immediate danger from heat, cold or lack of adequate ventilation and the conditions could reasonably be expected to cause extreme suffering or death."
Violators may claim an animal removed from a vehicle only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment and impoundment of the animal.
A law enforcement officer, humane agent, animal control officer, firefighter, first responder, or licensed security guard may break an animal out of a hot car if necessary but they must leave written notice bearing the officer's or agent's name and office and the address of the location where the animal may be claimed.
Maryland
MD Code, Transportation,§ 21-1004.1
It is illegal to leave a cat or dog in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the animal's health or safety. A violation comes with a $700 fine.
These people may use reasonable force to remove a cat or dog left in a hot vehicle: Law enforcement officers Local or state public safety employees Local or state animal control officers Officers authorized to make arrests Volunteers or professionals of a fire and rescue service
Minnesota
M.S.A. § 346.57
It is illegal in Minnesota to leave a cat or dog unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the animal's health or safety. This crime constitutes a petty misdemeanor: a person who violates this subdivision is subject to a fine of $25.
Those allowed to break into a vehicle to save an animal under this law include: Peace officers Humane agents Dog wardens Volunteer or professional members of a fire or rescue department
Rescuers must use reasonable means to contact the owner. If the rescuer is unable to contact the owner, they may take the dog or cat to an animal shelter.
Nevada
N.R.S. 574.195
It is illegal to leave a cat or dog unattended in Nevada in a parked or standing motor vehicle during a period of extreme heat or cold or in any other manner that endangers the health or safety of the animal. A person who violates the law is guilty of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor.
These individuals may use any force that is reasonable and necessary under the circumstances to remove a cat or dog from a motor vehicle: Peace officer Officer of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals who is authorized to make arrests Animal control officer Governmental officer or employee whose primary duty is to ensure public safety Employee or volunteer of any organized fire department Member of a search and rescue organization under the direct supervision of a sheriff The person who removed the cat or dog may take any action relating to the cat or dog specified in that section and is entitled to any lien or immunity from liability that is applicable pursuant to that section.
New Hampshire
N.H. Rev. Stat. 644:8-aa
It's deemed cruel to confine an animal in a motor vehicle or other enclosed space in New Hampshire in which the temperature is either so high or so low as to cause serious harm to the animal. This crime constitutes a misdemeanor on the first offense and a class B felony on the second or subsequent offenses.
Any law enforcement officer or agent of a licensed humane organization may take action necessary to rescue a confined animal endangered by extreme temperatures, and to remove the threat of further serious harm.
New Jersey
N.J.S.A. 4:22-26
It is illegal in New Jersey to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions adverse to the health or welfare of the creature. However, it is also illegal to break into a vehicle to save an animal.
This crime constitutes cruelty with penalty of a sum of not less than $250 nor more than $1,000.
New York
NY Agri. & Mkts. §  353-d
It is against the law in New York to leave any companion animal confined in motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection where confinement places companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious injury due to exposure.
Any person who knowingly violates this section is guilty of a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $100 on the first offense, and not less than $100 and not more than $250 on subsequent offenses.
Police, peace officers, or peace officers acting as agents of a humane society may take necessary steps to remove endangered animals from vehicles. They will not be civilly or criminally liable if their actions are taken in reasonably good faith.
North Carolina
NC ST § 14-363.3
North Carolina classifies leaving an animal confined to a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or under other endangering conditions as cruelty. This law applies to any animal that is not considered livestock.
Any animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator appointed under G.S. 19A-45, law enforcement officer, firefighter, or rescue squad worker, who has probable cause to believe that an animal is confined in a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or under other endangering conditions, may enter the motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible for the animal.
North Dakota
NDCC, 36-21.2-12
It is illegal in North Dakota to leave a cat or dog unattended in a stationary or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the animal's health or safety.
A law enforcement officer may use reasonable means to enter a motor vehicle and remove an animal left in violation of this section.
Violation of the law constitutes a civil infraction.
Rhode Island
Gen. Laws, 1956, § 4-1-3.2
No owner or person in Rhode Island shall confine any animal in a motor vehicle which is done in a manner that places the animal in a life threatening or extreme health threatening situation by exposing it to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold.
Any person who knowingly violates this law will be punished by imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or by a fine of no more than $1,000, or both.
In order to protect the health and safety of an animal, a Rhode Island animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter who has probable cause to believe that an animal is in serious danger may break into a vehicle by any reasonable means, after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other responsible person, entering te vehicle for the sole purpose of rescue or release of the animal. Officers may not search the vehicle unless otherwise permitted by law. A law enforcement or animal control officer who removes an animal from a motor vehicle pursuant to this section is immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.
South Dakota
S D C L § 40-1-36
It is against the law in South Dakota to leave a cat, dog, or other small animal unattended in a standing or parked vehicle in a manner that endangers the health or safety of such animal.
Reasonable force may be used to remove such animal by any peace officer or agent or officer of any humane society.
Tennessee
T. C. A. § 29-34-209
Animal cruelty charges may apply to those who leave an animal unattended in a car in Tennessee
The state's "Good Samaritan" law states that anyone can be exempt from civil liability for any damage resulting from the forcible entry of a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a minor or an animal from the vehicle.
Vermont
13 V.S.A. § 386
It is a crime in Vermont to leave an animal unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health or safety of the animal.
Violation of the law comes with a cruelty charge and a sentence of imprisonment of not more than one year, or a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.
Anyone in Vermont can be exempt from civil liability for any damage resulting from the forcible entry of a motor vehicle for the purpose of removing a minor or an animal or child from the vehicle.
Virginia
Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6504.1
No law-enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, or animal control officer in Virginia who in good faith forcibly enters a motor vehicle in order to remove an unattended companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death shall be liable for any property damage to the vehicle entered or injury to the animal resulting from such forcible entry and removal of the animal, unless such property damage or injury results from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.
It is illegal to endanger the life of a companion animal in Virginia
Washington
RCWA 16.52.340
It is class 2 civil infraction to leave or confine any animal unattended in a motor vehicle or enclosed space if the animal could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or lack of necessary water in the State of Washington.
An animal control officer or law enforcement officer who reasonably believes that an animal is suffering or is likely to suffer harm from exposure to excessive heat, cold, lack of ventilation, or lack of necessary water is authorized to enter a vehicle or enclosed space to remove an animal by any means reasonable under the circumstances if no other person is present in the immediate area who has access to the vehicle or enclosed space and who will immediately remove the animal.
West Virginia
W. Va. Code, § 61-8-19
It is a crime in West Virginia to leave an animal unattended and confined in a motor vehicle when physical injury to or death of the animal is likely to result.
Violation of the law counts as a misdemeanor; and comes with a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $2000 or confined in jail not more than 6 months, or both.
Neither a uniformed officer nor an average citizen may break into a car to save an animal in West Virginia without facing criminal charges.
Wisconsin
W. S. A. 895.484
In Wisconsin, a person is immune from civil liability for property damage or injury that results from his or her forcible entry into a vehicle if:
There is a good faith belief that the domestic animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless removed from the vehicle the vehicle was locked and forcible entry was necessary The rescuer dialed 911 or otherwise contacted law enforcement, emergency medical services, or animal control before forcibly entering the vehicle The rescuer remained with the domestic animal until law enforcement or a first responder arrived at the scene The rescuer used no more force than he or she reasonably believed necessary to enter the vehicle If this person left the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returned, the rescuer placed a notice on the windshield with information outlined in the law
29 states and Washington, D.C. do not have any hot car legislation in place
Alabama Alaska Arkansas Colorado Connecticut Georgia Hawaii Idaho Indiana
Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Massachussetts Michigan Missouri Montana Nebraska
New Mexico Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania South Carolina Texas Utah Wyoming