Last year, Massachusetts signed into law a bill that specifically addresses pets being left in hot cars. Sure, we all know that we shouldn’t leave pets in cars during extreme temperatures, but nevertheless, incidents occur every year. If you own a pet, here’s what you should know about this new law.
Overview of MA Law Regarding Pets Left in Hot Cars
According to Massachusetts law, it is illegal to leave pets in cars when they may be subject to extreme weather conditions. If you fail to comply, you may be ticketed $150 for your first offense. The law also grants emergency responders and bystanders “civil immunity” to take action to save animals from danger. This essentially addresses the breaking of windows or other actions to save a pet from a hot car. However, there are additional requirements to be aware of. Bystanders must notify and seek assistance from law enforcement first. Additionally, they must act in good faith and use no more force than what is reasonable necessary. The law does not give bystanders free reign to damage another person’s car.
Effect of Not Complying with This Law
As a pet owner, if you commit this offense, you could receive a ticket AND be responsible for repairs to your car. If your pet does not survive the incident, it’s possible that you could even face charges. Leaving pets in hot cars would therefore be a costly mistake. Remember that what may seem like reasonable temperatures outdoors can still result in dangerously high temperatures in a vehicle within a very short period of time. Play it safe and plan accordingly before taking your pets with you.