What do you do if you see an animal in a hot car in Texas?

Leaving a pet in a hot car can be deadly. An animal advocate attorney explained citizen’s rights when it comes to trying to save animals trapped in a hot car.

Body camera footage showed a Las Vegas police officer shattering a car window rescuing two dogs trapped inside. The temperature inside the van was above 110 degrees. Both dogs were taken to a shelter.

"Dogs are particularly vulnerable to the heat," Animal Legal Defense Fund Senior Staff Attorney Kathleen Wood said.

When it’s hotter than 70 degrees outside, it can be dangerous and potentially deadly for animals within a matter of minutes. Cars conduct heat, dogs pant to cool off, and it causes more heat and harm, and when dogs are stressed, their temperature rises. Vets advise never to leave dogs in a vehicle.


"Unfortunately, it's currently illegal to break into a car in Texas as a civilian to rescue an animal," Wood said.

Austin does have a city ordinance though that allows police officers or animal control officers, after attempting to locate the animals’ owner, to remove an animal using any reasonable means.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund said they’re continuously fighting to get a good Samaritan law in Texas.

"One of the barriers to passing these kinds of laws is the fear of vigilantism, but that is an unfounded fear. In the other 14 states we've seen that have these types of laws, we have not seen a rise in unnecessary break-ins and there are safeguards built into the law to prevent people from acting without reasonable cause," Wood said.

Wood said someone who does leave an animal in a hot car could potentially face animal cruelty charges.