As the temperatures outside begin to rise here in Tennessee, it is important to remember how important it is to not leave your pet unattended in a car for any length of time. Doing so can be extremely harmful and dangerous to your beloved pet.

Even in comfortable temperatures of 75 degrees, the temperature inside a parked car can increase significantly. These high temperature can cause great harm to animals in a matter of moments. Being trapped in a car on a warm can be miserable, and even cracking a window open does little to help the rising temperature inside. When it is 85 degrees outside, the inside of the car can reach a temperature of 100 degrees in just 10 minutes, and 120 in a half hour.

You would not want to experience this, so why would you want to force your pet to endure something like this? Due to the cruelty and dangers of leaving a pet alone in a car, Tennessee has enacted a law against doing just that.

Tennessee Penal Code 597.7 PC states that an animal may not be left unattended in an environment that could cause the animal harm. Such environments in a car can be:

• A hot car
• A freezing car
• Lack of ventilation within the car
• Lack of sufficient food or water
• Any other circumstance that could cause suffering, harm, or death to the animal

If someone were to leave their pet unattended long enough for one of these conditions to be a problem, they could face serious consequences.

If the animal does not suffer from any injuries, and it is a first time offense, the individual will only face a maximum fine of $100 per animal left in the vehicle. If the animal does suffer major injuries due to the experience, the individual faces a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $500 and a 6 month stay in county jail. A second time offense will automatically result in the latter of the 2 penalties regardless of whether or not the animal suffered any injuries.

On top of the penalties, an individual may face additional costs. This is because law enforcement officers are allowed to do whatever they deem necessary to rescue a suffering animal from an enclosed vehicle. This means that an individual could need to pay to get his or her car repaired on top of paying for fines for leaving the animal unattended.

To add on yet again, prosecutors may also choose to file additional charges under animal abuse laws. These charge can be even more severe than that of leaving the animal unattended in the car.

All in all, you should never leave your pet unattended a car for any serious length of time. The results of doing so could be devastating. If you are planning to go out for a while, do yourself and your pet a favor by leaving it in the safety of your home.