The Law About Leaving Dogs in Cars

August 21, 2022 - 11:21 am - 3 min read


Leaving dogs in cars has always been a controversial topic. Some people believe that it is safe while others think that it is inhumane. However, regardless of personal opinions, it is important to know the law about leaving dogs in cars. In this article, we will explore the legalities surrounding this issue.

Animal Welfare Act 2006 and Leaving Dogs in Cars

The Animal Welfare Act was introduced in the UK in 2006 and it outlines the legal responsibility that pet owners have towards their animals. This act makes it illegal for pet owners to cause unnecessary suffering to their animals. Leaving a dog in a car on a hot day can be considered an act of causing unnecessary suffering to the animal.

What is the Right Temperature to Leave a Dog in a Car?

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), it is never safe to leave a dog in a parked car, regardless of the weather. However, the biggest danger is when the weather is hot. On a hot day, the temperature inside a car can rise to deadly levels within minutes. Dogs can suffer from heatstroke, dehydration, and eventually die if left in a hot car.

What are the Penalties for Leaving a Dog in a Car?

The police and the RSPCA have the power to break into a car and release a dog if they believe that it is in danger. If a dog is released from a car, the owner will be investigated for animal cruelty. The penalties for animal cruelty can include a fine of up to £20,000 and/or a six-month prison sentence.

What Should You Do If You See a Dog in a Car?

If you see a dog in a car on a hot day, it is important to act fast. First, you should try to locate the owner of the car. If you cannot locate the owner, you should call 999 and report the issue to the police. You should also take note of the registration number of the car, the make and model, and the location of the car. If the dog is showing signs of distress, you should take a video or photo as evidence.


In conclusion, leaving dogs in cars is a serious issue. Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is illegal to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal, and leaving a dog in a hot car can be considered as such. The penalties for animal cruelty can include a fine and/or a prison sentence. If you see a dog in a car on a hot day, you should take immediate action to ensure that the dog is not in danger. Remember, if in doubt, it is always safer to leave your dog at home.


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