Is there a new law protecting dogs in cars? Yes. Yes, there is

dog deal with it


Last week Gov. Jay Inslee signed a measure making it a civil violation to leave a dog in a car when it’s too hot or too cold out.

SB 5501 applies to more than just dogs, and it applies to more than just cars, and it gives legal protection to first responders who might break a window to free an animal withering in the heat of a car. (Inslee also line item veto’d some language in the bill applying to backyard livestock)

The law does not, however, give protections to passers by who might enter a car to save an animal, but local law enforcement officials have said if a person honestly believes an animal is in danger, they would not face prosecution.

Sandra Crump, a Poulsbo resident I profiled last summer who regularly patrols parking lots, hunting for animals in distress, called the bill a big step forward.

She believes the way to normalize kindness toward animals starts with the law. For some, she said, the threat of a fine provides the initial nudge. Additionally, she said the new law signals to society that a shift is taking place, and although the new law doesn’t do a whole lot — it provides for a civil fine of $125 — the publicity the law has received plants the seed.

Things are changing, she said.

“Even the pope says dogs have souls,” Crump said.


2 thoughts on “Is there a new law protecting dogs in cars? Yes. Yes, there is

  1. What ever happened to leaving the dog at home. Now while I on occasion give my dog a ride when I know that I am not getting out to go inside somewhere or we are going somewhere where the dog is allowed to be out, like the dog park or a friends house or just going for a walk. I see people treat their dogs as if they are their kids.
    Here is a question for you. I thought it was illegal to take a dog (exception is service animals) in any establishment that serves food. And with the exception of the pet stores or the feed stores or the hardware stores, I see people walking their dogs inside the big box stores and the grocery stores. I will see people with their little purse dogs sitting in a restaurant in a booth feeding their dog. I was at the the Golf course clubhouse in Port Orchard (forgot the name) once eating with the wife and friends and this lady walks in with her dog on a leash and just starts mingling with people who are eating and the dog peed on the carpet and after a while she just walked out. I have seen a dog pee on clothes once at Target and once on the floor at Safeway. And the people just walk out. Again why do people take their dogs everywhere they go. And If you are going somewhere and not taking your dog in to where you are going, then why take the dog to leave them in the car. And why do people take their dogs where they are going to go eat and it is allowed. I would think that is a Health violation. Any way to find out if there is a law. If there is, then why do stores allow patrons to bring their dogs with them and does the public actually know this and they all ignore it?

    1. Unfortunately employees at stores (at least most large corporations) aren’t allowed to say anything even if the dog doesn’t have the service vest on. I work for a local grocery chain and we aren’t allowed to say anything. I don’t understand the purpose of having a law if you aren’t going to allow it to be enforced. Its like saying no shoplifting but if you do we aren’t going to stop you. lol

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