What's the maximum punishment for leaving dogs in hot cars?

Laura Mowat
German Boxer driving car, Duisburg, Germany
Dogs should not be left in hot cars because they can easily overheat say experts. (GETTY)

As summer arrives and temperatures soar, the RSPCA are reminding dog owners to not leave their pets in their cars or they could be liable to six months in jail and an ‘unlimited fine’.

The animal welfare organisation have urged dog owners to be wary of the weather as even at 22 degrees outside, a car can reach “an unbearable 47 degrees within the hour”.

Press officer for RSPCA, Amy Ockelford, said: “If someone was prosecuted for causing unnecessary animal suffering, they could get six months in prison and an unlimited fine.”

dangerous from forgetful for dog in parking
Dog owners can face tough penalties for leaving their pets in their cars. (GETTY)

Last year, there were 8, 290 reports to the RSCPA of animal suffering of UK and 90% of these was dogs in hot cars.

Ms Ockelford said: “Last year was the worst year for three years. People sometimes do not realise or they are coming back from work and stop at the shops and it is convenient to leave the dog in the car.”

And can you be prosecuted for smashing someone else's window to free a dog inside?

The RSPCA recommend people who are concerned over someone else leaving a dog in a car to call 999.

She said if people do break someone else’s window “you can be prosecuted but not if you cause criminal damage which the owners would consent to”.

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Ms Ockelford recommends people to have a witness or film themselves if they do feel they have to break someone’s window in order to save a dog’s life.

If dogs become too hot and are unable to reduce their body temperature by panting, they can develop heatstroke which can kill them.

The Kennel Club have also issued the same advice saying: “Dogs mainly control their body temperature by panting. When a dog is very hot, panting isn’t enough to stop them from overheating.

Passers by rescue an infant from a hot car. (SWNS)
Passers by rescue an infant from a hot car. (SWNS)

“In warm weather the temperature inside a parked car can climb rapidly and will be much higher than outside of the vehicle. Dogs left alone in a car on a hot day can quickly become dehydrated, develop heat stroke or even die.”

This comes as earlier this week firefighters were called to rescue an 18-month-old boy who had been left in a hot car in Essex.

Police spoke to the woman in the back of the ambulance for more than half an hour.

It is understood the woman was later allowed to leave the scene in her car with the two children.