Oakley Police Chief Talks Summer Heat and Pets


The following was provided by Oakley Police Chief Chris Thorsen

Oakley Chief of Police Chris Thorsen reminds residents,

“Routinely during the summer months we receive calls regarding animals left in cars unattended. In nearly every case, we find the driver left the pet only for a few minutes while they ran a quick errand. Though I fully understand that most pet owners would never intentionally injure their animal, many don’t realize just how quickly the vehicles interior can heat up to lethal heights.”

Even in relatively mild weather, the interior of your vehicle can reach extremely high temperatures in a very short time. On a day when the sun is out and the ambient temperature is only 85 degrees, the temperature inside your car can increase as much as 20 degrees in only ten minutes. Worse yet, in an hour the interior of your car can reach 140 degrees.

To combat the rising temperature, people often leave the car running with the air conditioner on. This practice is fraught with potential problems. A vehicle left running, even with the doors locked, is an invitation to have your car stolen. Even more frightening, the vehicles air conditioner may fail leaving your pet in a car that is heating up.

California Penal Code section 597.7 addresses the act of leaving a pet in the car. There are several factors which must be considered when determining if there is a violation (temperature, ventilation, access to food/water).

Chief Thorsen concludes.

“Being a dog owner, I could not imagine the pain felt if I harmed our dog by leaving her in the car. Most pet owners feel the same, our pets truly do become part of the family. When I talk to folks who leave their pet in the car, they simply don’t realize how quickly the car can heat up. I understand the desire to take your pet with you as you travel; however, on some days, both you and the dog will be better off if you leave them home.”