A Dog is in a Hot Car. What can I do?
You would think by now that everyone would know that you should not leave a dog inside of a hot car but for some reason, people do it anyway. There is never a good time to leave your dog in the car in Albuquerque. This risk is well known but many pets die from being left in a hot car every single year anyway.
Laws really vary from state to state on how this is handled but in New Mexico, there is a law prohibiting cruelty to animals, but it does not specifically list hot car offenses. Section 9-2-2-6(B) of Albuquerque’s Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment ordinance (HEART) specifies the illegality of leaving pets in hot cars.
What do you do?
In a state that does not have a Good Samaritan Law, your options are limited. You can not just break out someone’s windows in the car. You can face charges if you choose to do so. Here in Albuquerque, you can call 911 or the non-emergency number. You can also dial 311 for the Animal Welfare Department. It is important that you write down all the details about the vehicle including the plate number. If you are at a business, go in and ask them to page the car owner. You should wait outside for the authorities to arrive and will handle the situation.
Thankfully, in Albuquerque, if you see a dog locked in a hot car you can break the window to save the dog. You should call 911 first and let them know and find out how quickly the police will be there. If you know what store the owner is in, alert the store so they can try to find the dog owner. If it is possible to wait, it is best to let the police break the window.
Signs of Heatstroke in Dogs
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive panting
- Excessive drooling
If you see a dog in a car and you notice signs of heatstroke, you may not want to wait for the police, and break the window immediately. If you do break the window, you need to wait for the police to show up so you can tell them what happened. Do not try to pick up or touch the dog, as you don’t know if the dog is aggressive.
How Hot Does It Get?
At 70 degrees your car’s interior can heat up to 100. When it is 80 out it only takes minutes to get to a deadly temperature. At 85 degrees it will be 120 in your car after 30 minutes. A hot car death is 100% preventable if people would stop leaving the dogs in cars. It is a good idea to know the laws in the area you live in so that you can do the right thing when you see a dog in a hot car.
Read more about the Albuquerque HEART ordinance: