Is It A Crime To Leave A Dog In A Hot Car?

In summertime, temperatures inside cars can reach well over 120 degrees. These extremely high temperatures can be life threatening for dogs and other pets. Because of this, it is a crime in Missouri to leave a dog unattended in a hot vehicle.

If you see an animal in distress: Animal Cruelty Hotline (Humane Society) (314) 647-4400 or 911 will dispatch Animal Control and/or an officer.

Leaving dogs in cars

On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar to between 100 and 120 degrees in just minutes, and on a 90-degree day, the interior temperature can reach as high as 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. 

MO State Law RSMo: Animal neglect and abandonment–penalties.

  1. A person is guilty of animal NEGLECT if he has custody or ownership or both of an animal and fails to provide adequate care.
  2. A person is guilty of ABANDONMENT if he has knowingly abandoned an animal in any place without making provisions for its adequate care.
  3. Animal neglect and abandonment is a CLASS C MISDEMEANOR upon FIRST conviction and for each offense, punishable by imprisonment or a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars, or both, and a CLASS B MISDEMEANOR punishable by imprisonment or a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars, or both upon the SECOND and all subsequent convictions. All fines and penalties for a first conviction of animal neglect or abandonment may be waived by the court provided that the person found guilty of animal neglect or abandonment shows that adequate, permanent remedies for the neglect or abandonment have been made. Reasonable costs incurred for the care and maintenance of neglected or abandoned animals may not be waived. This section shall not apply to the provisions of section 578.007 or sections 272.010 to 272.370.
  4. In addition to any other penalty imposed by this section, the court may order a person found guilty of animal neglect or abandonment to pay all reasonable COSTS and expenses necessary for:

    A: The CARE and maintenance of neglected or abandoned animals within the person’s custody or ownership;

    B: The disposal of any dead or diseased animals within the person’s custody or ownership;

    C: The reduction of resulting organic debris affecting the immediate area of the neglect or abandonment; and

    D: The avoidance or minimization of any public health risks created by the neglect or abandonment of the animals.

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