It’s that time of year again when Fido needs to be left at home in the cool air conditioning rather than in your hot car. Massachusetts State Law Chapter 140 section 174F makes it illegal to leave your pets inside a vehicle exposed to extremes in temperature. If you are caught doing this and your animal is in distress, you can be fined up to $500, or charged criminally with Cruelty to Animals.
If you observe an animal in a hot car that you believe is in distress, section 174F outlines what you can do to assist the animal:
“After making reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle’s owner, a person other than an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter shall not enter a motor vehicle to remove an animal to protect the health and safety of that animal in immediate danger unless the person: (i) notifies law enforcement or calls 911 before entering the vehicle; (ii) determines that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit and uses not more force than reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the animal; (iii) has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal; and (iv) remains with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.”
You must follow these steps before making any entry into someone else’s vehicle to assist an animal. Please take a look at the picture in this article to see just how hot a vehicle can get in a very short amount of time, or click this link to read the full law.