What You Should Do if You See a Pet in a Parked Car

If you find yourself in a situation where an animal or a child is locked in a car, and you’re outside with no way to get them out, a locksmith can come to the rescue. What if you come across a parked vehicle with an animal inside, but the driver is nowhere to be seen? What can you do?

A brown dog in a car with the window rolled down.
Pet in a car | Getty Images

Why is leaving pets in parked cars unattended is so bad?

Leaving a pet in a car when no one is with them is a bad idea because the inside of vehicles can get hot, despite the weather outside. Heat can cause heatstroke in animals quickly, which will lead to organ damage, and, in some cases, the animal could die, which makes leaving them alone for just a few minutes while you run into a store not worth it. Plus, you also run the risk of the animal getting harmed by them being curious or getting lost. 

It’s not hard to imagine a dog figuring out how to run a power window in a running vehicle and then taking advantage of the opportunity to run off. They can easily get lost in an area they aren’t familiar with. Plus, your vehicle can get stolen with your pet inside, and who knows what the thief will do with your beloved pet. 

What should you do if you see pets in parked cars unattended?

Have you ever come across a situation where you see an animal alone in a parked car and wondered if something could happen to the poor thing. Is there anything you can do short of breaking a window to get it out?

There is something you can do to help out the pet so they don’t get harmed, sick, or die from the heat in the car. For the most part, you aren’t legally allowed to try to get into the vehicle to help the animal, but in some states, there’s a Good Samaritan law that lets you get in when specific circumstances are met. 

If there aren’t any laws, according to the Humane Society, you should take down the vehicle’s information, including the license plate, make, and model of the car. Go to the nearest buildings and let someone know, like a security official, secretary, managers, etc. 

They can make an announcement to see if they can locate the vehicle owner to take care of the animal. If the owner doesn’t come forward, call emergency personnel and wait by the vehicle until they arrive. 

How else can you help keep pets safe from the dangers of parked cars?

There are also a couple of ways to help when a situation isn’t imminent. You should know your state and local laws concerning this before coming across an animal alone in a vehicle. Also, have numbers handy, so you don’t have to search for them when a pet is in danger, and time is essential. 

Volunteer to get the word out that leaving pets in parked vehicles is dangerous and let people know what happens. Talk with business owners and see if you can get them to post announcements asking customers not to leave their pets in a parked car alone. 

Consider getting involved in your state or area that doesn’t have any laws against pets being left in parked vehicles. Lobby for laws to be put in place to help keep animals safe and secure from the dangers of being left alone in cars. 

It might be tempting to jump out of the car and run into a store for a quick couple of minutes while leaving your pet inside alone. However, a few minutes is all it takes for them to get sick and possibly die, no matter the weather. Instead, leave them home, or have someone with you to watch them while you run errands. 

RELATED: It’s Dangerous for Dogs and Cats to Ride in a Car in Cold Winter Weather