Dogs In Hot Cars: Hawaii - Louisiana

Author: Simon Isham (3L) 

Post 2 of 5

This is the 2nd post in the Dogs in Hot Cars series written by 3L Simon Isham. Enjoy! 

Hawaii

Hawaii currently has no law specifically making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Hawaii can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Although Hawaii’s animal cruelty laws do not specifically address an animal’s need for adequate temperature regulation and ventilation, failure to provide these necessities to a pet likely meets the statutory definitions of “torment” and “torture.” “Torment” is defined as an owner’s failure “to attempt to mitigate substantial bodily injury” to the animal, and “torture” is defined as “every act, omission, or neglect whereby unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, or death is caused or permitted.”[1]

A person who torments or tortures an animal may be charged with cruelty to animals in either the first or second degree depending on whether the animal dies.[2] Animal cruelty is punishable by a fine of up to five years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.[3] Notably, If the animal does not die, Hawaii’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals; however, if the animal does die, then the owner will be restricted from owning any animal for five years.

Although members of the public are not empowered to intervene with a suffering animal trapped in a hot car, a police officer is.[4] A police officer who has probable cause to believe an animal is suffering may enter the vehicle in order to remove the animal and provide it with any necessary veterinary care.[5] The officer is required to post a notice of where the animal was taken conspicuously on the vehicle.[6]

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 Idaho

Idaho currently has no law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal. This doesn't mean that pet owners in Idaho can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Carrying an animal in a vehicle in a cruel or inhumane manner is a misdemeanor in Idaho,[7] and state police have used this law against those who leave dogs in hot cars in the past.[8] Those charged for the first time with animal cruelty can expect to face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of between $100 and $5,000.[9] Those charged with a second violation can be fined from $200 to $7,000, and/or imprisoned for up to 9 months.[10] Those charged with a third violation can be fined between $500 and $9,000, and/or imprisoned for up to one year.[11] Notably, Idaho’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals.

Although members of the public are not empowered to intervene with a suffering animal trapped in a hot car, a police officer is.[12] A police officer may take possession of the neglected animal and seek veterinary treatment for the animal, if necessary.[13] The animal’s owner will then be responsible for all costs associated with the animal’s care.[14]

Note: Representatives of the Idaho state Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Industries are entitled to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal as well, but may themselves call upon law enforcement to assist if they wish.[15]

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Illinois

In Illinois, it is a felony to confine any animal in a motor vehicle in such a manner that places it in a life- or health-threatening situation by exposure to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold.[16] Although members of the general public may not break into a car to liberate an animal from the heat or cold, a police officer, animal control officer, or investigator from the state Department of Agriculture may do so.[17] Unlike in many states, firefighters are not specifically empowered to intervene in this way under the law.

A first-time offender may be imprisoned for up to 30 days and fined up to $1,500.[18] A repeat offender may be imprisoned for up to 180 days and fined up to $1,500.[19] Unlike in many states, Illinois pet owners are not restricted from owning or possessing future animals after violating this law.

Note: The Illinois law contains one of the broadest definitions of animal, comprising “every living creature, domestic or wild,” but not including humans.[20] This is contrary to many jurisdictions, where fish, livestock, and wildlife are not considered animals for the purposes of “hot car” laws.

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Indiana

In 2017, the Indiana legislature passed a new law which grants criminal and limited civil immunity to a person who breaks into a hot car to save a suffering animal.[21] In order to qualify for these immunities, a person must follow the following procedure:

  1. The person must have a reasonable belief that the animal is in imminent danger of harm if it is not removed from the vehicle.[22]
  2. The person must determine that the doors of the vehicle are in fact locked, that no windows are rolled down, and that there is no other reasonable means of liberating the animal from the hot (or cold) car except to break the window.[23]
  3. The person must call 911 or make an attempt to contact a police officer, a firefighter, an animal control officer, or another emergency responder before attempting to enter the vehicle.[24] The Indiana law requires that the person make a reasonable attempt to contact one of the above listed emergency responders, but does not require that an emergency responder actually show up on the scene at any point. Thus, even if an emergency responder is unavailable to respond, a member of the public may still enter a vehicle to save a suffering animal.
  4. The person must use no more force than is reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle.[25] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  5. The person must remain with the animal until a law enforcement officer, firefighter, animal control officer, or other emergency responder arrives at the scene.[26] The wording of the statute seems to allow moving the animal out of the elements and to an adjacent location that is safe for the animal, such as an air conditioned building.

Indiana’s law is unique because although it authorizes breaking and entering into a vehicle, it also requires that the person breaking in pay to the owner or lessor of the vehicle half of the cost of repairing the vehicle.[27] The law also provides that the owner of the vehicle may waive the person’s obligation to pay.[28] The obligation to pay does not extend to police officers, firefighters, government employees whose primary job is to ensure public safety, animal control officers, veterinarians licensed in Indiana, veterinary assistants, and other emergency responders who might break into a vehicle to save an animal.[29]

Indiana’s law is also unique because it creates an immunity for the owner of the animal if the animal injures a person (for example, by biting them) during the course of its removal from the vehicle.[30]

Note: Indiana’s law only applies to dogs, cats, and other “vertebrate animals … intended to be kept as a household pet.” [31] The law specifically excludes livestock[32] and invertebrate pets such as jellyfish, tarantulas, or hermit crabs.

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Iowa

Iowa currently has no law allowing members of the public to break into a vehicle to save a suffering animal. This doesn't mean that pet owners in Iowa can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Although keeping an animal in a hot vehicle has not been specifically made a crime in Iowa, police are able to use the existing statutes on animal neglect[33] and animal torture[34] to cite negligent pet owners.[35] Such owners may be fined between $65 and $625 and/or serve up to 30 days in jail if the animal survives.[36] If the animal does not survive, the owner may be fined between $315 and $1,875, and imprisoned for up to one year.[37]

Although members of the public are not empowered to intervene with a suffering animal trapped in a hot car, a police officer is.[38] A police officer may take possession of the neglected animal, if necessary.[39] The animal’s owner will then be responsible for all costs associated with the animal’s care.[40] An animal that is too threatened to be returned to its owner will be euthanized.[41]

Note: Although the Iowa animal cruelty laws broadly define animals as nonhuman vertebrates, this definition is limited by excluding livestock, game animals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, pests, and "fur-bearing" animals.[42] The qualification of “fur-bearing” is not further defined in the Iowa animal cruelty laws, but is defined elsewhere in the Iowa Code to refer to animals commonly hunted or farmed for their pelts. The qualification of “vertebrates” also excludes from protection some common invertabrate pets such as jellyfish, tarantulas, or hermit crabs.

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Kansas

Kansas currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Kansas can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Kansas’s animal cruelty statute defines animal cruelty as “knowingly abandoning any animal in any place without making provisions for its proper care; [] having physical custody of any animal and knowingly failing to provide such food, potable water, protection from the elements, opportunity for exercise and other care as is needed for the health or well-being of such kind of animal...”[43] A first time offender may serve one year or less in jail.[44] A repeat offender must serve a minimum sentence of five days in jail with a maximum sentence of one year, and must pay a fine between $500 and $2,500.[45] Notably, Kansas’s animal cruelty statutes do not restrict a neglectful pet owner’s right to own future animals — only the rights of owners convicted of intentional cruelty.[46]

 

Note: The Kansas law contains one of the broadest definitions of animal, comprising “every living vertebrate except a human being.”[47] This is contrary to many jurisdictions, where fish, livestock, and wildlife are not considered animals for the purposes of “hot car” laws. The qualification of “vertebrates” also excludes from protection some common invertabrate pets such as jellyfish, tarantulas, or hermit crabs.

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Kentucky

Kentucky currently has no law on the books allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal, but that could soon change. In late 2017, a bill was introduced in the Kentucky legislature that would give civil immunity to a person who rescues a domestic animal from a hot vehicle.[48] The law will be presented for a vote during the 2018 legislative session.[49] If it passes, the bill would grant a rescuer civil immunity if they followed this procedure:

  1. Have a reasonable, good faith belief, based upon the circumstances known to the person at the time, that entry into the vehicle is necessary because the domestic animal is in imminent danger of physical injury if not immediately removed from the vehicle.[50]
  2. Contact a police officer, a firefighter, or call 911.[51] The Kentucky bill allows for firefighters to respond to the scene, unlike some states, but does not specifically allow for animal control officers to do so, unlike some others.
  3. Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the vehicle.[52] In a classic scenario, this likely means breaking just one window. Breaking more than one window, kicking the fender or keying the car will cause the would-be hero to lose immunity from civil and criminal liability.
  4. Remains with the domestic animal in a safe location, out of the elements, but reasonably close to the vehicle, until law enforcement, firefighters, or other emergency responders arrive.[53] The wording of the statute seems to allow moving the animal to an adjacent location that is safe for the animal, such as an air conditioned building.
  5. If the rescuer reasonably determines that emergency conditions require leaving the scene with the minor or domestic animal, the rescuer must place written notice on the vehicle containing the rescuer's contact information, the reason entry into the vehicle was made, the location of the domestic animal, and notice that authorities have been contacted.[54] The wording of the Kentucky bill is important on this point because it places a large amount of discretion in the hands of the rescuer about whether the parties need to leave the scene, and for what reasons. The obvious reason is that the animal might need medical care for symptoms of heat stroke, but another possible reason that the bill does not foreclose is natural disasters that might make it unsafe for the parties to remain at the vehicle.

Under current Kentucky law, bystanders must contact law enforcement or animal control officers and wait for them to arrive in order to help an animal in need.[55]

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Louisiana

Louisiana currently has no law making it a crime to leave an animal in a hot car, nor does it have a law allowing members of the public to break into a car to save an animal.

This doesn't mean that pet owners in Louisiana can get away with animal cruelty and neglect scot-free, however. Louisiana’s animal cruelty statute, among other things, prohibits carrying an animal in a vehicle in a cruel or inhumane way,[56] and “Mistreats any living animal by any act or omission whereby unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death is caused to or permitted upon the animal.”[57]

A first-time offender may be punished by a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.[58] A subsequent offense will come with a fine of between $5,000 and $25,000, and/or a sentence "with or without hard labor" for between one and ten years.[59] A subsequent offender will also be ordered to complete 40 hours of community service,[60] and must complete a psychological evaluation.[61] Although Louisiana’s laws do not specifically allow for the rescue of struggling animals by members of the public, they do allow for rescue by police officers,[62] and the punishments for animal cruelty are among the harshest in the nation, especially for repeat offenders. In addition, Louisiana restricts those convicted of animal cruelty from owning or possessing any animals for “a length of time deemed appropriate by the court.”[63]

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[1] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1100.

[2] Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 711-1108.5, 711-1109

[3] Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 706-640, 706-660.

[4] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1109.1.

[5] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1109.1(1).

[6] Id.

[7] I.C. § 25-3505.

[8] Journal Staff, Pᴏʟɪᴄᴇ ᴅᴇᴄʟᴀʀᴇ ᴢᴇʀᴏ ᴛᴏʟᴇʀᴀɴᴄᴇ ᴘᴏʟɪᴄʏ ʀᴇɢᴀʀᴅɪɴɢ ᴅᴏɢꜱ ʟᴇꜰᴛ ɪɴ ʜᴏᴛ ᴄᴀʀꜱ ꜰᴏʟʟᴏᴡɪɴɢ ᴄᴀɴɪɴᴇ'ꜱ ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜ, Iᴅᴀʜᴏ Sᴛᴀᴛᴇ Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟ (2017), http://idahostatejournal.com/news/local/police-declare-zero-tolerance-policy-regarding-dogs-left-in-hot/article_df8a0cf6-742d-5e8f-9cb1-b3af1fa86842.html.

[9] I.C. § 25-3520A(1).

[10] I.C. § 25-3520A(2).

[11] I.C. § 25-3520A(3).

[12] I.C. §§ 25-3504, 25-3519.

[13] I.C. § 25-3504.

[14] I.C. § 25-3520B.

[15] I.C. § 25-3501.

[16] 510 ILCS 70 § 7.1.

[17] Id.

[18] 510 ILCS 70 § 7.1 and 730 ILCS 5 § 5-4.5-65.

[19] 510 ILCS 70 § 7.1 and 730 ILCS 5 § 5-4.5-60.

[20] 510 ILCS 70 § 2.01.

[21] Indiana General Assembly, Hᴏᴜꜱᴇ Bɪʟʟ 1085 - Rᴇꜱᴄᴜᴇ ᴀᴄᴛɪᴏɴꜱ Iɴᴅɪᴀɴᴀ Gᴇɴᴇʀᴀʟ Aꜱꜱᴇᴍʙʟʏ, https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2017/bills/house/1085#document-70481d70.

[22] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(1).

[23] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(2).

[24] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(3).

[25] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(4).

[26] I.C. 34-30-30-3(b)(5).

[27] I.C. 34-30-30-3(a).

[28] Id.

[29] I.C. 34-30-30-3(c).

[30] I.C. 34-30-30-4.

[31] I.C. 34-30-30-1(a).

[32] I.C. 34-30-30-1(a).

[33] I.C.A. § 717B.3.

[34] I.C.A. § 717B.3.A.

[35] Dog Escapes Hot Car, Owner Gets Animal Neglect Citation, ᴡʜᴏᴛᴠ.ᴄᴏᴍ (2017), http://whotv.com/2017/07/21/dog-escapes-hot-car-owner-gets-animal-neglect-citation/.

[36] I.C.A. § 717B.3.3 and I.C.A. § 903.1.

[37] Id.

[38] I.C.A. § 717B.5.

[39] I.C.A. § 717B.4.

[40] Id.

[41] Id.

[42] I.C.A. § 717B.1.

[43] K.S.A. § 21-6412.

[44] K.S.A. § 21-6412(b)(2)(A) and K.S.A. § 21-6602(1).

[45] K.S.A. § 21-6412(b)(2)(B).

[46] K.S.A. § 21-6415.

[47] K.S.A. § 21-6411.

[48] 18 RS BR 164 (2017).

[49] Id.

[50] 18 RS BR 164(1)(a) (2017).

[51] 18 RS BR 164(1)(b) (2017).

[52] 18 RS BR 164(1)(c) (2017).

[53] 18 RS BR 164(1)(d)(1) (2017).

[54] 18 RS BR 164(1)(d)(2) (2017).

[55] KRS § 436.605.

[56] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(1)(f).

[57] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(1)(i).

[58] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(a).

[59] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(b).

[60] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(c).

[61] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(d).

[62] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.3.

[63] L.S.A.-R.S. § 102.1 (A)(2)(b).