It only takes 10 minutes for temperatures inside a car to become dangerously hot, according to the Humane Society, which supported the Good Samaritan bill. On a 70-degree day, car temperatures can reach 89 degrees within 10 minutes. When it’s 72 degrees outside, it takes about an hour for car temperatures to reach 116 degrees.
If you see an animal in distress, call the SFACC dispatch line (415) 554-9400 or 911.
I see an animal in a hot car. What should I do?
- Note the make/model of the vehicle, license plate number and its specific location. Note a description and condition of the dog(s). Quickly use your smart phone or camera to film the situation, especially if any signs of distress are observed (see below). Also note the time and outside temperature if you have access to that information.
- Call the local animal control agency or police. If you don’t have the local numbers, call 911. Along with getting help, this will create a “record” of the event (311 can also route you to the best agency to help).
- Some locations, such as malls, amusement parks or casinos, will have on-site security that may be able to help take action sooner then first responders can arrive.
- Ask clerks at nearby stores/venues to make announcements using the vehicle’s make/model to locate the dog’s guardian.
- Return to the vehicle to monitor the dog’s condition and help responding authorities locate the vehicle.
- If you need to take immediate action to save the dog’s life and remove the animal from the car, make sure you’ve gathered as much evidence of the situation and dog’s condition as you can, including involving near-by witnesses. Remember this is a last resort if it looks like the animal won’t live until officers arrive – even if you save the animal, you might still be charged with a crime and face repercussions in the majority of states.
Signs that an animal is in heat-related distress:
Fervent barking as if in distress
Intense scratching or digging at windows or doors trying to escape
Excessive panting with exaggerated long tongue
Extreme drooling, salivating
Change in color of the gums (blueish purple, bright red or pale from lack of oxygen)
Increased heart rate
Labored or trouble breathing
Disorientation, stumbling or poor coordination
Diarrhea or vomiting
Collapse or loss of consciousness
How Hot Is Too Hot?
Think of your dog (or any pet) as a toddler… if you wouldn’t leave a four-year-old child unattended in a car–don’t leave your dog/pet!