I really wanted to call this post some people are idiots, but that title is wide open for a variety of asinine behaviors. The truth is, many people are idiots and I have a specific bone to pick with them. Especially the six (two today) dog owners I've encountered in the past month. To you, ignorant fools who leave your dogs in the car, it's time to educate yourself as to why it is absolutely unacceptable to leave pets in your oven on wheels.
Good reason #1: It's illegal. Good one, right? In 2006, the Governor signed CA Senate Bill 1806 (Figueroa) into a law that makes leaving your dog in the car under certain conditions a crime. The conditions? Heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering or death.
Good reason #2: Since it is illegal, there are penalties. This means, leave your dog at home or face penalties of $100 for the first incident, $500 or six months in jail if your dog becomes sick or injured, and if you get hit with a felony charge? Count them: $20,000. Oh, and one more thing--a peace officer or animal control officer can bust your windows and take your dog to the shelter to sit on death row. Plus, you look like a jerk.
Good reason #3: The temperature outside doesn't matter. Just because you think that it's cool enough for your dog to sit in your car, doesn't mean it is. Even when it's a (human) comfortable 72º outside, the inside of the car can quickly rise to 100º within minutes. If your dog's body temperature rises even a few degrees, he can suffer heatstroke, brain damage and death.
Good reason #4: Pets are stolen from cars. You know your cute, flat-faced pug? The one who can't breath normally anyway, but is now wheezing on the hot seat? Well, someone can easily break or force open the window and take him. It happens. End of story.
Good reason #5: Los Angeles is pet-friendly. This one is for you, couple at Samy's Camera who decided to leave their giant pitbull in the car on a 90º day: Your dog can go inside with you. Novel, I know.
So, if you are reading this and you see a dog in a car or know people who leave their dog in the car, do something. Save them a vet bill, heartache, a fine or a broken window. Better yet, help them become a little bit smarter. They need it.
A great resource for the canine owner is: My Dog is Cool. You can find information, a weather gauge and even fliers to print out and leave on cars in case you see this. I know it is hard to step up to strangers, but enough already.