Help Save Animals from Overheated Cars

dogs hot cars

Target: Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania governor

Goal: Create legislation allowing bystanders to remove animals from hot cars

Each year, despite public service announcements and common knowledge, pet owners senselessly leave their pets to die in hot cars. It is impossible to monitor the behavior of every pet owner, thus it is extremely important that bystanders know they are allowed to intervene if an emergency arises.

Several states have enacted laws that permit using reasonable force if an animal is overheating in a locked car. In these states, bystanders no longer need to worry whether breaking an animal out of a vehicle will result in criminal charges. However, this is not a law in most states and there are many gray areas, making people unsure about whether they can help.

Cracking a window is usually not adequate and does not prevent the car’s temperature from rising rapidly. Dogs do not have sweat glands, making them far more vulnerable to heatstroke than humans. A locked car in the summer, even with a window rolled down, is like an oven. The temperature rises rapidly and often to suffocating levels.

News outlets have reported stories of bystanders frantically searching for owners, calling police who take hours to arrive, and trying to give dogs water through tiny window cracks. This is a horrible position to be in. Sign this petition to give bystanders the right to break the animal out when other options have been exhausted.


Dear Governor Corbett,

Thousands of animals, especially dogs, are left to slowly overheat in hot cars while their owners are elsewhere. Bystanders are often nearby, concerned, and willing to help, but their power is limited. With summer approaching, legislation is needed not only to protect these animals, but also to empower community members to be aware and active.

Researchers have stated that dogs can endure a maximum body temperature of 107 to 108 degrees only briefly before brain damage or death occurs. Because pets cannot escape these situations and owners may be gone for hours, bystanders should be permitted to use necessary force to free the animal. If it is 80 degrees outside, a car temperature can rise to approximately 114 degrees in a matter of 20 minutes. Once a dog begins to overheat, time is extremely limited.

There were various reports of owners being uncooperative or police never arriving when called out to overheating incidents in 2013. This leaves bystanders completely helpless, forcing them to watch the animal suffer needlessly while time runs out. A bystander should not have to watch an animal die because of legal technicalities.

New legislation would solve this problem completely. Please create specific legislation allowing bystanders to break animals out of hot cars when no other option is available.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare


  1. Kids AND animals left in a hot car suffer at the hands of ignorant f*cks that shouldn’t have EITHER.

    • I totally agree with you Staci, I cannot believe how anyone could leave a child or pet in a car like that!!! Disgusting oxygen thieves!!!!!

  2. I agree that such legislation might be valuable; but it is tricky. How would bystanders be allowed to handle the dogs? People like dog fighters steal dogs from parked cars for their dogs to train by killing. However, I find some of the comments to be most offensive. My dogs would go nuts if I left them alone at home, which I am sometimes forced to do. But if my errands can be short ones, no more than a few minutes each, I bring them with me, leashed to a hitch by a rear window, find shade in which to park (or bypass that business), and leave all windows all the way down except for the one where the leashes are hitched, which is left half way down. When it gets really hot here (Texas), they just have to get left home. If that makes me a creep – tough.

    • Responsible ownership illustrated by Stan is what is needed. It is always necessary, on occasion, to have your animals in the car and the interpretation of a total ban by locals or local enforcement could be far more tragic for the animal – I’ve seen the videos of the way many American police relate to dogs especially.

    • Carol Ann Firmstone says:

      you americans are so stupid, why do you have to take your dogs to the shops with you, you are nothing but a cruel bastard.

  3. I think Stan Benton brings up a valid point, however, I don’t think in your case it’d be considered animal abuse. You have the decency to find shade and open up all of the windows for your dogs so they could easily poke their head outside and breathe the air, not suffocate inside. And as you’ve pointed out you bring your dogs when you go on a short errand. I live in California and I’ve seen some folks leave their dogs in the car (under the blazing sun) during a hot summer day and go watch a movie! Now that’s animal abuse.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




5488 Signatures

  • Stephen McDougall
  • Anna Liljenroth
  • Gordana Djuric
  • mark hollinrake
  • Gail Szafir
  • Miriam Alcantara
  • Floriana Cipressi
  • Krystal Wolfe
  • caroline kail
  • Marianne Smith
1 of 549123...549
Skip to toolbar