Dogs In A Hot Car Lead To Legal Lesson
OKLAHOMA CITY - Two women believed they were rescuing dogs from a hot car over the weekend, but they were breaking the law. There are legal consequences.
“These puppies were in that car for 45 minutes,” one woman said.
So they decided to break them out of someone's car when they didn't see the owner anywhere. However, that is considered breaking and entering.
“If you go into someone's car and remove their animal, you're actually legally removing their property, and it's kind of a weird, touchy situation, because you're dealing with an animal and the life of an animal,” Oklahoma City Animal Welfare Superintendent Julie Bank said.
No doubt emotions can run as high as temperatures in a situation like this, but even though it involves the life of an animal, leaving a pet inside a vehicle isn't against the law.
“There's nothing against the law that says you can't have a dog in a car,” Bank said. “Where it becomes against the law is if the temperature in the car gets to a level and the ventilation in the car gets to a level where the animal has the potential of suffering.”
The women in the video claim it took too long for animal welfare to respond, but they were contacted by the police department.
The call was considered a priority one call, and they say they were there in less than 20 minutes.
Animal control officers do not have the authority to remove animals from vehicles - only policeman and fireman do.
The animals were removed before police or animal control were on scene.
“The animals weren't in distress when we got there, and, unfortunately, we have to witness the situation, and we have to gauge the actual temperatures in the car to determine whether there is any type of violation of the law,” Bank said.
At this point, nobody is in any trouble. However, the animal welfare division is conducting an internal investigation.