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Leaving a Dog in a Hot Car Now Illegal in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently signed a bill making it illegal to leave pets in a hot car.

It's now illegal in Rhode Island to leave a dog in a sweltering vehicle. File photo.
It's now illegal in Rhode Island to leave a dog in a sweltering vehicle. File photo.
A new law makes it illegal to leave a pet in a sweltering vehicle in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently signed the legislation, which gives police officers, animal control officers, and firefighters the authority to free animals "by any reasonable means necessary." Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor.

PETA supports the legislation, which was introduced in the Senate by Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and in the House by State Rep. Marvin Abney.

"Trapped in a steaming car with only hot air to breathe, dogs can suffer heatstroke in just 15 minutes, resulting in brain damage or death," said PETA's Lindsay Pollard-Post in a statement. "When temperatures warm up, no amount of time in a parked car is safe for dogs."

The law also makes it illegal to leave an animal in a car when it's freezing.

The law stipulates that it's illegal "for any person to confine any animal in a motor vehicle which places the animal in a life threatening or extreme health threatening situation by exposing the animal to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from the extreme temperature."
MillicentBroderick July 08, 2014 at 01:34 PM
Leave RI Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.
gail sands July 08, 2014 at 07:23 PM
Why is it that in order to get attention from many citizens is to make something illegal? Does no one have any common sense any more? Guess that is a stupid question, but I dont get it. Between kids and animals who cant defend themselves, people can be such morons. Kill them, abandon them, abuse them, where does all this come from.
MillicentBroderick July 08, 2014 at 09:47 PM
There are a fair number of people who are genuinely unaware of the danger, there are people who do not like to be told how to run their lives and that extends to the creature in the car. I have on 4 occasions nicely and politely informed a person that it would be harmful to their dog to leave it in the car, as the dog had been. I have never had anyone say thank you I did not realize. I have been threatened with violence and basically run off. So what does that say. That is why it needs to be a law..so there is no "discussion". awful.
Samantha Marley August July 14, 2014 at 12:35 PM
If it's illegal to leave pets outside, we should be able to take them into the stores with us. My dog is an adorable long-haired Chihuahua. Everyone on earth wants to pet him and hug him, and for that reason I can't leave him outside a car -- he's very nervous and I wouldn't put it past him to nip or bite someone who tries to pet him. He's safer in the car. I also leave all the windows open, leave him loosely tied to the seat to leave him enough room to move around, and leave water with ice in it for him. This is all for a two second run into the store, literally never more than three minutes. I just think it all comes down to common sense. Don't leave anything in the car with all the windows up. Roll them down or put on the AC. However, I don't think any random person should be able to smash in my windows that are already mostly rolled down to get to a dog who is perfectly fine hah. This just seems sorta ridiculous. Obviously, don't hurt animals. I am actually huge on animal rights. This just seems excessive.

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