Skip navigation

Denver Agencies Warn Dog Owners About Dangers of Leaving Pets Unattended in Hot Vehicles

As temperatures across Denver are expected to hit 90 today, Denver Animal Protection (DAP) and Denver Public Works are teaming up to remind pet owners of the dangers of leaving pets unattended in hot vehicles.

Since the beginning of the year, DAP has received 175 calls regarding dogs left inside vehicles during extreme temperatures. Leaving your pet in an overheated car could result in a summons for animal cruelty, which can result in a fine of up to $999 and/or a year in jail.

As a reminder about the dangers of leaving pets in vehicles during the blistering heat, Denver Public Works Right of Way Enforcement Agents will distribute flyers and keep an eye out for pets left unattended in hot vehicles while on patrol.

“Temperatures inside of a vehicle can reach 120F in a matter of minutes, even with the windows cracked,” says Sgt. Jim Sanborn of Denver Animal Protection. “The best way to keep your pet safe during the blisteringly hot temperatures is to leave your pet at home.”

DAP offers the following tips for protecting your pet from the heat:

  • It is illegal to let dogs ride loose in pick-up truck beds. Hot metal can burn paws, and exposure to the direct sunlight can be just as harmful as has being left in an enclosed vehicle.
  • Ensure pets are groomed. Long-haired pets are more susceptible to overheating.
  • Avoid excess exercise with your pet when it’s hot outside.
  • Be mindful of hot pavement that can burn your pet’s feet.  
  • Provide adequate shelter from the elements, as well as access to fresh water. Denver city ordinance requires that pets have adequate outdoor shelter such as a dog house, porch area, or a similar structure that allows an animal to escape the elements. Failing to do so could result in a fine of up to $999 and/or a year in jail.

The new Colorado law that protects good Samaritans from breaking an animal or child out of a car goes into effect on August 10th. If you see a dog in a hot car, immediately call 311.