When I was given the opportunity to write a piece for the City of Hinesville about something I am passionate about, I was drawn to the issue of people who leave dogs in hot cars. After receiving guidance from the Hinesville Police Department, I learned that while Georgia does not explicitly have a law against leaving dogs in hot cars, it does have animal cruelty laws.
In Georgia, animal cruelty is defined as the intentional causing of harm to an animal or failing to provide a pet with the proper needs. According to O.C.G.A. 16-12-4(b)(1), a person commits the offense of animal cruelty when they "cause physical pain, suffering or death to an animal by any unjustifiable act or omission."
Despite there being no specific law or ordinance in Hinesville, I am hoping to appeal to all of you with the following information:
- Within an hour of your car being turned off, the temperature inside can rise to 40 degrees above the outside temperature. This means that on an 85 degree day, the temperature of the inside of your car can reach 125 degrees.
- Within 10 minutes of your car being turned off, the inside temperature can rise 20 degrees. This means that on an 85 degree day, the temperature of the inside of your car can reach 105 degrees.
- Cracking your car’s windows is not effective at reducing the temperature of the inside of your car. Even if your car is parked in the shade with windows cracked, the temperature of the inside of your car can rise 20 degrees every 10 minutes.
- It is important to note that 85 degrees is a relatively moderate temperature, imagine how high the inside temperature might be if the outside temperature is 100 degrees, as is often the case in South Georgia.
It is never a good idea to leave your dog in a turned off car for even a few minutes. If you see a dog inside a hot, parked car, call the HPD at 912-368-3911 for assistance. If the dog is in distress, I urge you to call 911.