NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WWLP) – State police in New Fairfield Connecticut had to rescue a dog that was trapped in a hot car.

Troopers say just before 2:00 p.m. Monday afternoon, they were informed of a dog in distress – locked in a dark colored car with its windows rolled up outside a local business. It’s unclear how long the dog was left unattended, but the temperature at the time was 82 degrees.

Officers broke a window and moved the dog to their air-conditioned cruiser, where its condition improved. Animal control took custody of the dog.

Connecticut State Police are reminding dog owners that although temperatures may have only been in the 80s, in just 30 minutes inside that vehicle temperatures could reach up to 120 degrees. They have shared a chart showing how quick it takes to reach over 100 degrees inside a car:

  • 75 degrees outside can reach 100 degrees in 10 minutes
  • 75 degrees outside can reach 120 degrees in 10 minutes
  • 85 degrees outside can reach 90 degrees in 5 minutes
  • 85 degrees outside can reach 100 degrees in 7-10 minutes
  • 85 degrees outside can reach 120 degrees in 30 minutes
  • 100 degrees outside can reach 140 degrees in 15 minutes

The incident is being investigated by the New Fairfield Animal Control Officer.

Steps you can take if you see a pet in a parked car:

  1. Take down the car’s make, model and license plate number.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Massachusetts laws and penalties on leaving a pet in a hot car

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.