It depends on the circumstances.
NRS 574.195 specifically prohibits leaving a cat or dog unattended in a vehicle in Nevada during a period of extreme heat, extreme cold, or in any other conditions that endanger the health and safety of the animals. It does not matter whether the car is turned off or parked with the motor running.
The two exceptions to this rule involve hunting. Leaving a dog unattended in a car in inclement conditions is not a crime if:
- A licensed hunter is actively utilizing the dog to hunt game during hunting season; or
- The dog is undergoing training exercises or field trials.
Leaving a cat or dog unsupervised in a car in unsafe conditions is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The punishment is:
- up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines
Cops may break into cars to rescue unattended cats or dogs, and they are obligated to notify the owners of the pets' whereabouts. But then the owner is required to pick up the animal within a certain time and to pay for law enforcement's costs of housing the pet. Otherwise, the pet may be put down or sold. Read more information about the Nevada crime of leaving a dog or cat unattended in a car. Also read our articles, "Is dog-fighting is illegal in Nevada?" and "Can I go to jail for killing a pet in Nevada?"