Just last week, Rhode Island’s Governor Lincoln Chafee signed a bill into law making it a misdemeanor to leave a dog in a hot car, and already one person has been arrested. The new law made it legal for emergency services to break in and rescue a black poodle from the 124-degree vehicle.
David Rodriguez of Providence left his dog inside his parked car while he shopped at BJ’s Wholesale Club. Deputy Police Chief Daniel Parrillo said an effort was made to locate the dog’s owner when he was discovered, but Rodriguez is said to be hard of hearing and could not hear the loudspeaker announcement.
The new law states that it is illegal to leave an animal inside a vehicle “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.”
A police officer, firefighter, or animal control officer “who has probable cause to believe that this section is being violated” has the authority to enter a vehicle “by any reasonable means necessary under the circumstances” after making a reasonable effort to find the vehicle’s driver.
The poodle was panting heavily and was having trouble breathing, so Parrillo broke into the vehicle and got him out. He was then taken to the Rhode Island SPCA. He had been inside the vehicle for over an hour, with the inside temperature soaring to 124 degrees. On a hot day, 10 minutes inside a hot car can cause heatstroke to set in.
“Even if it’s not a sunny day, the metal is such a good conductor of heat that it’s not a good idea,” said dog owner Irvin DeLarosa. “You wouldn’t do that with a child, either. It’s the same thing. It can potentially end someone’s life. It’s a stupid thing. There’s no real reason to do it.”
Rodriguez was contacted by police and came into the stations, where he was charged with a misdemeanor. He was released and has a July 16th court date. The dog was reported to be doing fine.
Only 14 states specifically prohibit leaving an animal in a parked vehicle. To see what the laws are in your state, click here. Contact local politicians to make this a felony in every state – abuse is abuse.