Updated: Feb 24

LOS ANGELES - To spotlight the potential double tragedy of having a pet die in a hot parked car and then having its guardian charged with animal cruelty, City Attorney Mike Feuer today appeared with L.A. Animal Services General Manager Brenda Barnette to urge people not to leave their pets in parked cars, detail what steps people should take if they see a pet in danger in a parked car and discuss the legal ramifications, which could include jail time for an animal’s guardian.

"We’re here today to prevent the needless tragedy of a beloved pet suffering or dying because its guardian thoughtlessly leaves their companion animal in a hot, parked car. The facts are so clear: It takes just 15 minutes for an animal to suffer brain damage when temperatures soar on a hot summer day in a parked vehicle. Cracking a window open doesn’t do nearly enough to cool your car down sufficiently," said Feuer. "This isn’t only a health and safety issue for your pet, it’s a legal issue, too. Leaving your companion animal in a parked car in the heat of the day is against the law, and can lead to serious animal cruelty charges, fines, even jail."

"It is up to us to make the safe decision for our furry friends. If you are not going to be able to take your dogs in with you every time you get out of the car, make the safe choice and leave him at home," said Brenda Barnette. "A quick stop may feel like no time at all to you, but it's too long to leave your pet in a vehicle unattended on a warm summer day. When it's hot outside, even with the windows open, a parked car can become an oven in minutes, and endanger the life of your pet."

"Leaving a pet in a locked car is stupid or deliberately cruel, or both," said Bob Barker, iconic game show host and animal rights activist."

Since January, people are legally allowed to break into a parked car in order to remove an animal that appears to be in danger only after calling 911 or Animal Services (213) 486-0450 first. If the dog’s guardian is found guilty of such animal cruelty, California Penal Code section 597.7 provides a tiered punishment system with a fine and infraction conviction for a first time offender with no great bodily injury to the dog, and more serious misdemeanor punishment and possible jail time for repeat offenders or first timers where there is great bodily injury involved.

The East Valley Animal Shelter, one of six managed by L.A. Animal Services, invites you to consider adopting some of the wonderful dogs and cats. You can search L.A. Animal Services online to find your perfect new addition or stop by in person Tuesday –Saturday, 8am – 5pm, or Sunday, 11am – 5pm.