ASPCA warns pet owners not to leave animals in hot cars


MISSOULA, Mont. - NBC Montana's Severe Weather Alert Team called it -- Monday will be a hot one. With hot temperatures around the corner, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns pet owners not to leave their animals in cars.

Even on a sunny summer day it can be dangerous to animals.

According to ASPCA, even if the temperature outside is only 70 degrees, the inside of your car may be as much as 20 degrees hotter. On an 85 degree day, it only takes 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees. Within 30 minutes, the car's interior can climb from 85 degrees to 120 degrees.

Humane Society of Western Montana Development Coordinator Sophia Proler says leaving an animal in a hot car can cause life threatening illness.

"No matter how big or small your animal is, their insides are super delicate," Proler said. "You don't want to leave them in a hot car because in just five minutes it's basically boiling temperatures."

States and local governments around the country have laws that prohibit leaving an animal unattended in a motor vehicle under dangerous conditions.

According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund those states are: Arizona, California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

The law allows certain public officials to break into the vehicle to rescue the animal.

For information for more hot car laws click here.

According to ASPAC pets most at risk for overheating are young, elderly or overweight animals, those with short muzzles and those with thick or dark colored coats.

Officials say a car can even overheat when the windows are down and inch or two. They say even if you park in a shaded area, it isn't as efficient because the shade moves with the sun.

ASPCA officials say if you see an animal in a car on a hot day, try to locate the owner, or call 911. They recommend you stay by the vehicle until help arrives.