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Leaving your pet in a car could be a felony

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Posted at 2:57 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 14:59:12-04

It's an avoidable tragedy that happens every summer around the country: animals dying after being left in hot cars by their owners.

Michigan Lawmakers are looking to stop that from happening here. Two State Lawmakers introduced bills making it a felony if you leave your pet in a hot car causing the animal to die.

Republican Senator Rick Jones of Grand Ledge and Democratic Senator Curtis Hertel of Lansing introduced bills in the senate last week where felony charges would be brought against someone who caused an animal to die after leaving them in a car.

Many people don't think twice about putting their dog in a car for a quick trip to the grocery store. They think if they leave the window cracked on a hot day, their pet is safe.

But that isn't true. According to the Humane Society, even if its 72 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit in just an hour.

If its 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees in just 10 minutes or less.

High temperatures can cause organ damage and even death. Every summer, there are stories about people breaking the windows of cars to help rescue the dog left inside.

Under the new legislation in the state senate, an animal could not be left unattended in a vehicle that could endanger its health or well being.

A dog found suffering in a car could mean a $350 fine, and a misdemeanor charge.

If the dog is seriously hurt, the fine would jump to $1000.
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And if the animal dies, the owner or the person who left it, would be facing a felony, and five years in prison.

16 states already have such laws on the books about dogs being left in cars.

The bills are now headed to a Senate Judiciary committee next for discussion.