You don’t have to be an animal lover to recognize the risk of leaving pets unattended, especially in an uncomfortable or harsh environment. Hot cars may be uncomfortable for anyone during warm days, but they are one of the most dangerous places to leave an animal.
Sadly, this is a common thing for pet owners to do. Some pet owners leave their pets in hot cars not realizing how fragile an animal’s health actually is. And while most people are familiar with the term “animal cruelty,” many do not realize what kinds of actions constitute animal cruelty and that it is a crime punishable by law.
A local Connecticut man recently learned all of this the hard way.
Four Puppies Rescued from Hot Car, Owner Charged with Animal Cruelty
On a hot day earlier this month, Bridgeport police received multiple calls about puppies locked in a car parked on Main Street. The officer who arrived on the scene found that, indeed, four puppies were struggling in the car. The windows were cracked, but the with temperatures outside at 86-degree heat had intensified within the car. To make matters worse, three of the dogs were crowded inside a cage built for one, while the fourth puppy was confined in a very small cage of its own. All were panting from dehydration and in need of immediate assistance.
With the help of a second officer, the puppies were removed from the car and given water. It was impossible to tell how long they had already been in the car, but it took another 25 minutes before the car owner returned to the vehicle.
Orrie Canady, a 54-year-old Bridgeport resident, immediately asked the officers what they had done with his dogs. After looking up his license information, police learned that Canady had a long history of animal abuse and other crimes. In 2012 he was arrested for stealing an English bulldog from a Westport pet shop after attempting to buy the dog with a stolen credit card. In 2013 he was arrested for stealing a woman’s purse and using her credit cards for purchases.
This summer, Canady was not only guilty of leaving unattended dogs in his car, but also of driving with an expired license. In addition, police reported that the car had a record of multiple parking tickets and was scheduled to be booted. After being booked on animal cruelty charges, he was released on a promise to appear in court. The puppies were put in the care of animal control.
What Is the Law in Connecticut on Leaving a Pet Behind
The state of Connecticut does not have as strict of laws as other states around leaving animals unattended in vehicles. Connecticut’s rules about animal cruelty take the circumstances into account, such as the weather and the duration of time the animal is left in the car.
In general, though, if a person leaves an animal confined in a parked vehicle in adverse weather (such as extreme heat or cold), they may be charged with animal cruelty. In addition, if the animal is confined without proper care for its health (such as air, food, water or protection from the elements), this also constitutes animal cruelty.
Under these circumstances, authorized persons (such as police officers or animal control authorities) may take measures to rescue the animal from the vehicle. The punishment for animal cruelty is up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $1,000, or both for a first offense. If committed again, the person responsible faces charges of a class D felony.
Why You Can’t Leave Pets Unattended
In many ways, the same common sense rules apply to pets as to human children. Animals have the same needs as all living beings, but are unable to fend for themselves. On sunny days, the inside of a vehicle can heat up to over 115 degrees, even with all four windows cracked. In this situation, an animal can quickly overheat and suffer from dehydration, especially if they are confined or have no water.
It’s hard to say which is worse: coming back to your vehicle to face a beloved pet who is sick or possibly dead, or coming back to face animal cruelty charges. Don’t run the dangers of leaving your dog unattended in a car. If you’re traveling with a pet, take them with you whenever possible when you leave the vehicle, or else bring along a friend who can stay with them while you are gone. A hot car can make the difference to your own life and to the life of your furry friend.