Unattended Children, Pets In Vehicles Draw Police Scrutiny

By  //  June 26, 2013

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prolonged exposure can be deadly

ABOVE VIDEO: Dr. Jeff Werber discusses important safety precautions when it comes to taking pets along in the car.

BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA — Leaving children and pets unattended in vehicles can be a crime in the state of Florida and patrol officers will be aggressively enforcing the law in order to prevent cases of heat exhaustion, heat stroke or even death in these instances.

Animal cruelty is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year in jail in addition to fines.

Animal cruelty is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year in jail in addition to fines.

In the first case, under Florida Statutes chapter 316.6135, leaving children unattended or unsupervised in motor vehicles for a period in excess of 15 minutes, regardless of whether the motor is running, can potentially put the health of the child in danger and law enforcement can and will use any means necessary to protect the minor children by removing them from the vehicle and getting them proper care.

This may include intervention from the Florida Department of Children and Family Services.

UNATTENDED IN A MOTOR VEHICLE

Child-in-car-unattended

Leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle constitutes a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 60-days jail plus fines of up to $500. (Shutterstock image)

Leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle constitutes a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 60-days jail plus fines of up to $500.

The penalties could escalate to felony child neglect if the child suffers physical injury such as heat stroke or other abuse.

In the second case, leaving a pet inside an unattended vehicle is not a criminal act in itself however with the summer temperatures soaring in the mid to upper 90’s a pet can quickly overheat which would constitute cruelty to animals.

FIRST DEGREE MISDEMEANOR

Animal cruelty is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year in jail in addition to fines.

Chief Doug Muldoon

Chief Doug Muldoon

“We see it happen too often, especially with pets,” said Chief Doug Muldoon.

“Unfortunately sometimes we see it when it’s too late and the family pet suffers significant heat trauma or is killed as a result.  People need to leave pets at home when out and about.

On a 90-degree day it takes only 10 minutes for a vehicle to heat up to nearly 110 degrees. For small children and dogs that can be deadly in situations of prolonged exposure. Neither is able to defend itself much less escape when left alone in a vehicle even for a short time.

Leave children in the care of a responsible adult. It’s very simple and will avoid a lot of heartache.”

On a 90-degree day it takes only 10 minutes for a vehicle to heat up to nearly 110 degrees. For small children and dogs that can be deadly in situations of prolonged exposure. Neither is able to defend itself much less escape when left alone in a vehicle even for a short time.

“Dogs don’t sweat like people do,” said Bob Brown of Brevard County Animal Services and Enforcement.

“It doesn’t take long, event with the windows down in the shade. Best thing to do is leave them at home.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT PetHealthNetwork.com


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