The weather in Iowa this spring has been pretty chilly and damp, for the most part, as we enter the 3rd week of the season.

While it hasn't been incredibly warm yet, the warmer temperatures will eventually creep up, and here is the perfect reminder to never leave your kid/pet in a hot car. We see a lot of dogs riding in the back of trucks during the summer, which is incredibly dangerous, but it's important to remember that a dog/pet inside of a car can also be a bad situation.

The inside of a vehicle that is sitting in the hot sun can reach 120 degrees in a matter of minutes and could cause your dog to suffer brain damage, heat stroke, or in the worst-case scenario...death.

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It's best to avoid leaving your pet in a car for any amount of time but things happen and occasionally you may have to sprint into the gas station to use the ATM or you might have to go into a restaurant to pay for a pickup order. You should still never do this when it's hot outside but when the weather is mild/cool, your pet will most likely be fine in a car for less than 5 minutes.

Now, you may have to leave your pet in the car for a few minutes but is this even legal in Iowa or is this something everyone does and we just kind of ignore it? Did you know over half of the United States has prohibited leaving an animal in a car in dangerous situations? Is Iowa one of them?

Unsplash - Ignacio Amenábar
Unsplash - Ignacio Amenábar

Can You Legally Leave a Dog/Pet In Your Car?

According to Animal Law Info, there are "31 states have laws that either prohibit leaving an animal in a confined vehicle under dangerous conditions or provide civil immunity (protection from being sued) for a person who rescues a distressed animal from a vehicle"

For these laws to be considered broken, the motor vehicle must be in a situation where the animal life is in danger aka too hot or too cold. It appears Iowa does not have any laws in place preventing someone from leaving an animal in a hot car or protection for someone who might break a window to save an animal in a car.

Good Samaritan law

The penalties for leaving an animal in a car unattended during dangerous conditions vary from state to state and multiple states will allow someone to break into a car to potentially save a dog's life. Iowa does not currently have a good samaritan law, according to Animal Law Info.

If you do see a dog in a car that is not running and you believe the animal is in danger, call your local law enforcement. If the dog is in immediate danger, it is up to your discretion on whether or not to break a window and potentially deal with the legal consequences afterward.

This is one of those situations that "just because you legally can, doesn't mean you should." You know how hot cars get during Iowa's summer months and if you're a responsible dog owner, you should know that if you need to leave your dog in the car during the summer months, either leave the AC running or leave your fur baby at home.

When you jump in a car that's parked outside during the summer months you begin blasting the AC and immediately roll your windows down until the air gets cold. Imagine your furr baby sitting in a car that hot, even for 5 minutes. If you wouldn't sit in a hot car for that long, your dog surely doesn't want to either.

Humans and dogs die every year from being left in hot cars, don't make that mistake this summer.

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