Nevada Laws for "Leaving a Pet Cat or Dog Unattended in a Motor Vehicle" (NRS 574.195)
Explained by Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys

Leaving a pet animal (especially a dog or cat) in a car under unsafe conditions is a crime in Nevada. And not only do you face fines and jail . . . law enforcement can legally confiscate your pet and put it down.

Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers understand how important your pets are to you, and if necessary we'll fight all the way to trial to clear you of animal cruelty charges. To learn more about the Nevada offense of leaving a dog or cat unattended in a car, scroll down . . . .


The legal definition of "leaving a cat or dog unattended in an automobile" in Las Vegas, Nevada, prohibits people from leaving a cat or dog alone in a "parked or standing motor vehicle during a period of extreme heat or cold or in any other manner that endangers the health or safety of the cat or dog."

In short, you may not leave your cat or dog unsupervised in a stationary vehicle under any conditions that could jeopardize its welfare. If law enforcement believes they've found an endangered dog or cat alone in a car, they may break into the car to rescue the animal.

Hunting exception

Note that this law does not apply when a licensed hunter is actively using a dog to hunt game mammals or game birds during the appropriate hunting season in Nevada. It's also legal to leave a dog unattended in a car if the dog is participating in training exercises or field trials relating to hunting.


Remember that the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the weather was extreme or that conditions were unsafe in order to convict a defendant of violating NRS 574.195. So if your attorney can show that the temperature was mild and that the pet faced no significant risks, we should be able to get you exonerated.


The Las Vegas crime of leaving a cat or dog unattended in a motor vehicle in unsafe conditions is a misdemeanor in Nevada. The sentence for a misdemeanor in Nevada includes:

  • up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

Even worse, your pet may be taken away for good! Cops that "rescue" dogs and cats from cars are required to notify the owners of where their pets are being sheltered. But if the owner doesn't retrieve the animal in time or reimburse law enforcement for the costs of sheltering the pet, then the court may order the dog or cat to be either:

  • sold at auction, or
  • humanely put down, or
  • be kept in the officer's care.
Charged with animal cruelty? Call us . . . .

If you've been accused of leaving your pet unattended in a motor vehicle under NRS 574.195, phone us at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673). Our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers will do everything to have your charge reduced or dismissed so you keep your pet and can get back to your life as soon as possible.

Also see our article about leaving a child unattended in a car in Nevada (NRS 202.485).

To learn about California animal cruelty laws, go to our informational article on California laws re leaving animals unattended in a vehicle under Penal Code 597.7 PC.

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