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Laws and penalties on leaving a pet in a hot car

Love Your Pet

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Summer is not over yet, and it’s important to remember that if you’re traveling with your pets, it’s dangerous to leave them in an unattended car.

When it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter inside your car. On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside you car can warm up to 99 degrees in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, the temperature can reach 109 degrees and after an hour, more than 120 degrees.

It’s illegal in Massachusetts to confine an animal in a vehicle exposed to extreme weather conditions. If you’re caught in violation you could be fined $150 for a first offense with fines increasing for multiple offenses.

The law says police, firefighters, or animal control can enter your vehicle if there’s an animal inside who’s in distress. A civilian can also enter your car to rescue a pet but only if there’s no other way for the animal to get out, they’ve made an attempt to contact the owner, and only after calling 911 first.

Massachusetts law also protects civilians who rescue pets in distress from civil or criminal liability.

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