NC Legislation Will Allow Breaking Into Vehicles to Rescue Dogs from Hot Cars

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The North Carolina House passed a bill yesterday that gives explicit permission to use “any reasonable means” to rescue dogs and other animals left in hot cars.

Currently, 14 US-states prohibit pet owners from leaving animals in hot vehicles, and most allow law enforcement officers to enter the vehicle to rescue a dog in distress. However, North Carolina’s new law, if passed by the governor’s signature, will allow not only police officers, but also firefighters, animal control officers, and other rescue workers to take necessary action in saving an animal’s life.

Bob Marotto, the director of the Orange County Department of Animal Services, is thrilled with the new legislation and hopeful that it will pass, saying “I think that’s a valuable tool for local animal control agencies to have to deal with animals that are in vehicles and distressed.”

Marotto’s department receives about 5 calls each week from concerned citizens reporting dogs trapped in hot cars. This legislation will allow his officers to take action, rather than wait previous moments from police to arrive on scene.

On an 80-degree sunny day, the inside temperature of a vehicle can soar to over 110-degrees in just a matter of minutes. Once an animal begins exhibiting signs of distress, immediate care is necessary for survival.

Way to go, North Carolina! We’re looking forward to 49 more states following your lead!

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When I adopted my shepherd mix, Molly, from a local shelter 12 years ago, I had no idea the impact she would have on my life. Through Molly, I've learned to be more patient, experienced unconditional love, been alerted to the mailman and every squirrel within a block radius of the house, and ingested enough fur to build 3 or 4 more dogs! When I lost Molly to cancer just a few months ago, I adopted Olive, a 13 week old Golden Retriever. Together, we smile at least a hundred times a day!


  1. This should be a federal law. A good Samaritan should be able to get the dog/cat/pet /child out, get them water, and call 911! The owner should be arrested for negligence!

  2. Nobody needs to bring their animal in the car to leave them in the heat.. they should have stiff fines for this. Why don’t you try and stay in the car no air and see if you can stand it..

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  5. The law should be that if you think there may be a pet inside then you can break in to check. If you find any valuables in the car, you should be able to take them for compensation for your time

  6. How do we get Florida signed up for this legislation ??? These people down here have no respect for animals and will leave them locked in a hot car in a minute. I personally have no problem calling the police or breaking a window but it would be nice if the law was on our side.

  7. This is a bit silly; people are debating about whether or not it is okay to leave a pet in a car on a “hot” day. What is a “hot” day? I live in Ontario so a hot day to me is 30 (c) but a “hot” day to someone in Nunavut might be around 15 (c). It’s all relative.

    There is a simple solution to this, if you’re stopping somewhere take your dog out of the car, grab his collapsable water dish (that you of course carry because why would you leave your home with your pet for an extended period of time without bringing him something to drink out of?) and tie your dog’s leash to a pole, tree, bicycle rack, fence, or building in the shade with a full water bowl beside him and go do whatever it is you need to do, be it run in to buy milk or actually do some quick shopping. I do this with my dog all the time because I don’t want to leave him in the car and he absolutely loves it; often when I come out people are petting him and giving him endless amounts of attention. All I have to do is make sure that there is a nice shady place for him to hang out for 10 – 20 minutes while I do what I have to. I tell him to stay and he lays down to wait for me.

    Not leaving your dog in the car doesn’t mean that you need to leave him at home, it simply means that you shouldn’t leave him IN THE car. And conversely you also shouldn’t leave your dog in a freezing cold car without protection from the cold, especially if you have a breed that was never meant to see winter. Some pet owners place more importance on the “look” of their dog instead of choosing a breed that would be happiest in their climate, drives me nuts to watch a shorthaired breed try to got for a walk in our -40 (c) winters.

    • Please do your dog an even bigger favor by leaving him at home! You should never leave your loving and faithful friend tied somewhere while you run an errand–you have certainly heard the horror stories of dogs and cats being stolen to be sold or used as bait animals! Keep them in your sight always because unfortunately we do not live in a society that is trustworthy!This happens in every town and every neighborhood!

      • I would never leave my pet tied up unattended anywhere. There are far too many sick, cruel people who would abuse my pet just to watch it suffer. Give it antifreeze, poison it, kick it, hit in the head with something, stab it with a pen, pour gas on it, you name it. I love my pets too much to put it at risk like that.

    • Miche,

      While I commend you on taking your dog out of harms way regarding the heat factor of being locked inside of a car you then put him in another situation that could be easily as harmful and fatal. Animal theft is a huge problem especially in parts of Ontario and everywhere else for that matter. The criminals pull up in a van throw open the side door and within minutes your faithful friend who you have saved from the heat has now been kidnapped. Further more a dog tied up unattended is against the law. One of any number of things could happen while you are away. A child could have their hand bitten or worse yet claim to have had an aggressive gesture committed against them and your dog now runs the risk of being euthanized. Like one person has suggested…leave your dog at home where they are safe! Just out of curiosity does your dog ride in the front or back seat with you and does he where a seat belt when he does?

    • I don’t agree. Tying your dog up outside while you run errands is a great way to get your dog stolen. Then you have to worry who stole your dog and whether it’s being used as bait for dog fighting. If it’s a hot day, leave your dog at home.

    • Leave the dog at home if the outside temperature is above 60 degrees. Period. No ifs, ands, or butts. No pun intended!!