According to a post on the Santa Clarita Sheriff Station‘s Facebook page, deputies recently rescued three dogs from a hot van in Stevenson Ranch. The post reads:
“Citizen called to report dogs left in a hot car this afternoon. Deputies responded to the location, a parking area near townhomes in Stevenson Ranch. They found 3 Rottweilers and 1 Pitbull trapped in a van with a window barely open. The inside temperature of the van was determined to be 108°. Deputies rescued the dogs out of the van and provided them water. Animal Control officers responded and cited the owner who happened to come out of one of the condos while they were there after ‘visiting a friend’ for a few hours.
It’s too hot to leave your dogs in the car. Dogs suffer from heatstroke and die when left in hot, parked cars. Leaving the windows down or parking in the shade is not enough to prevent this.”
Leaving animals in a hot car is a violation of California Penal Code 597.7 PC – the state’s law against leaving animals unattended in a parked vehicle. While it isn’t illegal in-and-of itself to leave an animal unattended in a parked vehicle, it is illegal if doing so puts the animal in danger. Some of the circumstances that would endanger the animals include temperature (too hot or too cold), lack of adequate ventilation, and a lack of available food and water. PC 597.7 is not limited to the previous criteria, though they are the most common. Any circumstance that would reasonably endanger the health or well being of an animal is enough to warrant charges.
A first-time conviction nets the defendant a fine of $100 per animal, provided that the animal(s) do not suffer great bodily injury as a result of being left unattended in a vehicle. If the animal does suffer great bodily injury, the crime is upgraded from an infraction to a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and up to 6 months in county jail.