Don’t leave pets in hot cars

Published 7:26 am Thursday, July 20, 2017

Question: I noticed a dog that was in a vehicle the other day at a local business parking lot and the occupants were not around. I was wondering what I should have done. With the recent warm weather, I can imagine the temperature inside the car must have been dangerously high for that dog. Is there a law against this?

Answer: The law states that a person may not leave a pet unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers their health or safety.  A peace officer, humane agent, dog warden or a volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department may use reasonable force to enter a motor vehicle to remove a pet in this situation.

I would advise pet owners to use caution and consider your pet’s well-being and safety.

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•Leave your pet at home whenever possible.

•Arrange to have someone stay in the vehicle with the pet with the engine and air conditioner running.

•Check with the business, as they may allow you to bring in your pet while shopping.

Inscluded is a chart that shows how fast the inside of your vehicle can heat up. This study also found that cracking the windows had very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle.

—Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

If you see an unattended pet in a vehicle, report this to law enforcement with a location and vehicle description. Please do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period of time, as it could cause death or serious injury.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and of course, drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848.  (Or reach him at,