Rough Pet Week Cont. “Don’t Lock Your Dog in a Car”

dog car
Photo by PoPville flickr user Rob

“Dear PoPville,

I live on T and 15th and while walking my dog I saw a dog locked in a car near 14th and T with only one window slightly cracked. Although it was overcast, It was 77 degrees outside. The dog was still in the car 15 minutes later when I came back that way. Thankfully we walked by again and the car was gone.

Now that its getting hotter, I’m hoping you can put something on the blog about this! It takes only a very short time for a dog (or child for that matter) to pass out from heat exhaustion or die. Even with the window cracked, it’s gets very very hot inside the car.

People are encouraged to try and find the owner and if they cannot to call the police. Here’s more info about dogs in hot cars from the humane society.”

14 Comment

  • Tip: Have animal control saved in your phone. This is good for general issues and emergencies. Then call 911 after you call the humane society.

  • I just got a dog about a month and a half ago. It’s a shame I can’t take her with to the grocery store and leave her in the car for 20 minutes, lest a good samaritan call the police (after calling animal control, the humane society, CNN and the Vatican).

    • Accountering

      Can’t tell if I am being trolled, but yes, it is a shame that you can’t leave her in the car for 20 minutes because of science. Cars heat up very quickly in the sun.
      Go sit in your car in the sun with the windows cracked for 20 minutes and let me know know if you still want to leave your dog for 20 minutes..

    • From the Humane Society link above: ‘When it’s 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes.’

      You shouldn’t leave your dog in the car for even 20 minutes-that’s the point! I don’t have or really even like dogs and I find this a disturbing comment. Sorry that those pesky good Samaritans care about your pet’s safety and wellbeing.

    • Why are you taking your dog to the store to sit in a car for 20 minutes? I’ve left my dog in the car a total of 15-20 minutes over 10 years usually when I need to get run back to grab something for him and never on a warm day. I don’t think ppl should immediately go nuts unless it’s warm or the dog is in distress, but 15 mins is way too long.

    • If your objective in posting this comment was to sound like a complete ***hole, well. congrats…you succeeded.

  • I have a zero tolerance policy about this and I call 911 as soon as I see it (why wait, they dog may have been in there for a long time already). DC fire responds quickly and in one instance they got called away for a fire but dispatched a police car to come. The driver arrived in between but the cop pulled him over and ticketed him. They take it really seriously. Don’t wait. Just call 911 to report it. DC will properly queue your urgency.

    • My girlfriend and I left our dogs in the car for fewer than 5 minutes on a 60-degree day while we ran into CVS for something, and a lady called the cops. I thought that was unnecessary and a waste of resources (but it was Fairfax County, so who cares). When I drive up to visit my family 3 hours away I have to leave the dogs in the car while I go to the bathroom. You try to avoid these kinds of situations but sometimes there’s just no other option. I guess you shouldn’t have to wait around to see if the person comes back soon, but it’s not always fair to the owner.

      • It’s one thing if it’s cool/cold and the dog is just hanging out looking fine. Anything over 70, during daylight hours (even cloudy UV can raise the temp in the car), and I wait 5 minutes and call the police. I left my dog in the car for less than 5 minutes while I ran into pee at a rest stop while driving to visit family in March, snow on the ground, but sunny. I came back out to find a family looking at my dog through the window. Dad said the kids wanted to pet my dog (if that was okay and he is tolerant of children), and he wanted to make sure the owner was coming back soon. I said “thank you for looking out for animals. I’ll get him out and your kids can pet him…it’s his turn to use the restroom, and he loves kids.” Not even the slightest bit offended. Still wouldn’t have been offended if he called for help if I didn’t turn up quickly (which I always will).

  • I had a couple of “good Samaritans” start to call the police or animal control once with my dog in the car, while the car was well within my sight (50 ft), on a 65-70 degree night (sun down), and the windows were cracked and sun roof cracked. Apparently the “dog looked distressed”. Glad we have so many professional dog experts willing to meddle in other peoples business.

    • Yeah, I’m glad we do, too. How much you want to bet that 65-70 was actually 75-80, which results in a much hotter car regardless of your cracked windows. People will downplay this because they really have no sense just how hot a car can get and how fast that happens. Bottom line: glad people are being educated on this issue, and glad they are taking action when necessary. You really should avoid leaving dogs unattended in cars, period. Humans are notoriously bad at predicting just how bad it gets in an enclosed space. Better to not take the chance.

  • I once was driving 8 hrs to visit family, just me and my dog, in the dead of summer. I had 2 keys to the car though. So on bathroom breaks I would leave the car running, and lock/unlock the door with the other key. Would have been pretty bad if someone decided to jack my car though! Not sure if that’s always the best idea though, considering someone could break a window and just drive off. Fortunately there were busy rest stops, and we made out okay. It’s always hard in those situations. I’ve brought my dog into rest stop bathrooms with me as well. Other times she wasn’t allowed in.

    • If you have a way to leave your car running, I see zero issues with it. I always listen to see if the car is running before jumping to any conclusions – if it’s cold out and the heat is on in the car, or if it’s warm out and the AC is on in the car, then I’m not worried about it.
      I’m not sure about other areas, but I do remember that Alexandria passed a law a few years back making it illegal to leave an animal in a car if it’s 70 degrees or warmer (

  • Regardless of good practice and/or reasoning for leaving a pet in the car, it’s illegal in DC and Maryland to do so. I take roadtrips with my dog and always check the laws for each state I’m going through for the purposes of pit stops and such. It’s tough…leave my dog in the car with the AC running (two key method) or tie him up outside of the bathroom while I run in? It’s risky either way. BTW, I do the roadtrips because I won’t put my dog at the bottom of a plane and he deserves a vacation too, so I’m obviously concerned about his safety and well-being.

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