You want to be helpful to the little pups this summer but can you actually?

Picture this: you're leaving the grocery store, trudging back to your car in 100% humidity and 99 degrees. It's hot, you're sweaty, and you happen to glance ahead of your cart and you see it. It's a dog by itself with the windows rolled up in a car that isn't running. Your first instinct may be like mine: to break the window enough so that the pup can at least breathe. Or you might go back into the store to try to find the owner so they can at least crack the window. But legally, what can you actually do if that store is in Illinois?


I think most of the time that I've been out and about, any time I've seen a dog alone in a parked car, there's at least been a window cracked. But if you come across a pup in a car and that's not the case, here's what you can do.

Your Options

According to Animal Legal Defense Fund, only 29 states have a "hot car" law that does not allow leaving a pet unattended in a parked car. Illinois is one of 19 states a specific hot car law.

In Illinois, only public officials (like law enforcement and humane officers) can legally break into a car to save an animal.

So what can you do? Call 911.

You can't legally just break a car's window but if an animal is in trouble, a public safety officer can.

It's not a good idea to leave your pets in parked cars anyway since it can get hot in cars really fast even when it's not blazing hot outside. Cracking a window can only do so much to help. Keep your pets safe and cool this summer!

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