Dog In A Hot Car? Here Are Your Rights!

Thu 25th Jul 2019

While some of us might be unfortunate enough to find a dog stuck in a hot car, few of us actually know our rights in terms of rescuing the animal from the heat.

A recent study by found that only one in 100 passers-by attempted to rescue a distressed dog stuck in a hot car. The insurance experts used a toy dog with barking noises to test if anybody would take action, but a shockingly low number of people did.

The problem appears to be a lack of knowledge on what the rights of the individual are over the owner of the car and the dog. One in five of those who didn’t intervene said they didn’t know their rights, while 17 per cent did not know the best course of action to take.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, said: “You’d think by now people would realise that leaving a dog in a car on a hot day can have devastating consequences.

“But for innocent bystanders who want to help, the course of action we should take isn’t always clear.

“The law around it is confusing. Are we allowed to break into a car if it’s in the interest of saving an animals life? Should we stand by and wait until the owner returns? Who should we call? The RSPCA? The police?

“While the RPSCA may seem like the best people to call, they do not have the right to enter any vehicle.”

The RSPCA advise calling the police and that appears to be the best course of action according to Confused’s list of actions.

What to do when you see a distressed dog trapped in a car

1. Call the police and ask for their assistance

2. If the police can’t attend but the dog is in desperate need of help you may consider taking further action

3. Explain to the police what you intend to do

4. Take a photo of the dog trapped in the car

5. Take the name and number of any witnesses

6. If you do forcibly gain access to the car you should be willing to defend your actions in court