When the weather starts to heat up here in Bellingham, I think about pets in hot cars. Seems like we live in a cool enough climate even in summertime, so we shouldn’t need to worry about hot cars, right? Not so. It doesn’t take much before a car becomes too hot for animals to tolerate without the risk of serious illness or even death. The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30º F…and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside your vehicle!
There are some laws that every good Washington driver who has pets should know. It is illegal to leave your pet alone in a hot car. If you leave your child or pet in a hot car, a police officer would be permitted to break your window to release them. Here is the statute.
What should you do if you see a pet left behind in a hot car? Below are the steps to take, straight from the Humane Society of The U.S.
- Make a note of the car’s make, model and license plate number.
- If there are businesses nearby, notify their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car’s owner. Many people are unaware of the danger of leaving pets in hot cars and will quickly return to their vehicle once they are alerted to the situation.
- If the owner can’t be found, call the non-emergency number of the local police or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive. In several states good Samaritans can legally remove animals from cars under certain circumstances, so be sure to know the laws in your area and follow any steps required.
As you can see, the car doesn’t have to be moving to be deadly. If you are ever injured because of someone else’s negligence or mistake and need help understanding your rights, don’t hesitate to call Bill Coats Law. Bill is the top personal injury attorney in Whatcom and Skagit Counties combined, working with injured people to secure their rights. Contact him today for a free consultation.
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