Dogs in hot cars – what does the law say?

May 21, 2022

Animal Services Officer Morrison offers some guidance on what the law says about dogs in hot cars and what to do if you see a pet left alone in a vehicle. 

As an Animal Services Officer with the Clovis Animal Response Team, one of the many calls for service I receive during the hot summer months is a request to check on a dog that has been left in a parked car. Not only is this incredibly dangerous for the health and safety of the pet, but it is also a violation of many local and state codes. Below is some guidance on what the law says and what to do if you see a pet left alone in a vehicle.

What does the law say?

The State of California Penal Code 597.7 states, “No person shall leave 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 and water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.”

There are also several other state and local codes on animal care and animal neglect that may apply. Violators may face multiple charges and risk having their animal taken away from them.

Clovis Municipal Code 6.1.403 states, “Upon discovery of a sick, injured, or mistreated animal, the animal services officer may seize and impound such animal in accordance with the provisions of California Penal Code Section 597.1.” Click here to view all Clovis Municipal Code Animal Regulations.

If I see a dog in a car, what should I do?

If you see a dog in a vehicle, the first thing to do is evaluate the situation. What is the temperature outside? Does there appear to be adequate ventilation and access to water? Even on mild days, the temperature within a car can rise quickly and lead to serious illness or death.

If you believe the animal may be in danger, call local law enforcement right away. If you’re in Clovis, please call (559) 324-2800 and an officer will respond as soon as possible. We are glad to respond to these calls and make sure the animal is safe!


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Clovis Animal Services – (559) 324-2450

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