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IPFS News Link • Animals and Pets

Laws About Leaving Pets Unattended in an RV (2024)

•, By Mike Wendland

It's no secret that our RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers love traveling with their pets. According to a survey we did in 2016, about two-thirds of RVers travel with animals, mostly dogs. We think that number is even higher today.

Consequently, travelers leaving pets in vehicles is a topic that has garnered much attention. It has been the subject of RV Lifestyle past podcasts and blogs.

And it has also drawn attention from lawmakers across the U.S.

Types of Law About Leaving an Animal in a Vehicle

Per a research paper published in 2020 by the Michigan State University College of Law's Animal Legal & Historical Center, there are 31 states that have laws either prohibiting leaving an animal in a confined vehicle under dangerous conditions, or provide civil immunity (protection from being sued) for a person who rescues a distressed animal from a vehicle.

"Most laws provide that the animal must be confined or unattended in a parked or stationary vehicle," according to the paper authored by Rebecca F. Wisch.

"For a person to violate the law, the conditions in the motor vehicle have to endanger the animal's life. Some of the statutes specifically state that extreme hot or cold temperatures, lack of adequate ventilation, or failing to provide proper food or drink meet this definition.

Other laws simply state that the conditions pose an imminent threat to the animal's health or safety. Also, some states only cover dogs and cats while other states define 'animal' more broadly."