RI law makes it illegal to leave pets in hot cars
CRANSTON, R.I. —
As summer temperatures continue to rise in Rhode Island, so do the number of phone calls about pets being left in hot cars.
"I probably get a half a dozen a week when it's very hot like this," said Joe Warzycha, an animal cruelty officer for the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Warzycha is hoping a new law will bring calls to a new low. It's now illegal to leave pets in hot cars in Rhode Island.
"This really started last year when we had a case involving a dog that died as a result of being confined in a motor vehicle," Warzycha said.
Using a laser thermometer, Warzycha showed NBC 10 just how quickly cars can heat up on days like this.
"So, when I shoot this inside I'm getting a reading of 101.5," Warzycha said.
On an 82-degree day like Monday, temperatures inside a car can quickly jump 20 degrees. In a matter of 10 minutes, that's hot enough to end a dog's life.
"Even if it's not a sunny day, the metal is such a good conductor of heat that it's not a good idea," said Irvin DeLarosa, a dog owner.
Most pet owners like DeLarosa are pleased. The legislation will allow police officers, firefighters or animal control officers to break into any car and free at-risk pets without the car owner's consent.
If you're caught with an animal in your car you could face up to one year in prison, a $1,000 fine or both.
"You wouldn't do that with a child either. It's the same thing. It can potentially end someone's life. It's a stupid thing. There's no real reason to do it," Delarosa said.
The legislation also pertains to cold weather.