There Is No Michigan Law That Specifically States You Can’t Leave a Dog in a Hot Car
I'll lead with the stuff that's gonna make you mad.
As infuriating as it may sound, if someone leaves their animal in a hot car in Michigan, THEY ARE NOT BREAKING THE LAW.
It's not on the books anywhere. Yes, there are laws against animal cruelty, but nowhere does it say that it's illegal to leave your pet in a hot car.
And careful. If you're planning on being a concerned citizen and breaking out a window to save an animal, you could be on the hook for damages and more.
Here's the rundown.
Approximately 28 states have laws that deal with pets in parked cars. Under most of these laws, a person must have confined an unattended animal in a parked vehicle. Additionally, the conditions have to endanger the animal’s life to result in a violation. (Go Pet Friendly)
According to MSU, that number is 31 states.
And Michigan is not on either of those lists.
Additionally, there are Rescue Laws that provide for people to be able to enter a vehicle (sometimes forcibly) to save an animal.
The majority of states only allow authorities to enter a vehicle to rescue a pet. These personnel include law enforcement, firefighters, animal control, first responders, or authorized humane officers. (Go Pet Friendly)
And some states even offer protection to any person that rescues an animal in a parked car in distress.
Recently, about 15 states have enacted laws that allow any person to rescue a distressed animal (AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, IN, KS, LA, MA, OH, OR, TN, VT, and WI). These laws functions to limit the civil or criminal liability of the person for damages resulting from the forcible entry of the vehicle. Indiana is the first and only state to require the person who forcibly enters a vehicle to rescue an animal to pay half the damages. (AnimalLaw.info)
So to be clear, here in Michigan, if you see an animal in distress YOU SHOULD CALL THE AUTHORITIES. Taking it upon yourself, even though your intentions may be as good as possible, might cost you more and get you into legal trouble.
And if you're a pet owner, year after year we have this discussion.
Because people don't think it's that big of a deal.
Many people still do not understand how quickly the temperatures rise in a parked vehicle, even with the window cracked. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to keep your pet safe. If you love your pets, please keep them home during warmer temperatures. If you see an animal in a parked car, call 911. (Penny Pearsall CAHS)