In this section, our attorneys explain Nevada’s criminal laws and legal concepts, A to Z
Animal Laws » Am I allowed to leave my pet in a car in Nevada?
The animal cruelty law Nevada Revised Statute 202.487 makes it a misdemeanor to “allow a pet to remain unattended in a parked or standing motor vehicle if conditions, including, without limitation, extreme heat or cold, present a significant risk to the health and safety of the pet.”
Penalties include up to 6 months in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. And law enforcement officers may break into the vehicle to rescue the animal without being responsible to cover car repairs. 1
Yes, as long as the conditions do not present a significant risk to the health and safety of the dog, cat, or other domesticated pet in Nevada. 2 Examples of conditions too dangerous to leave a pet in may be:
Note that temperatures inside of a vehicle can be up to 20 degrees higher than it is outside. So even on a mild summer day in Nevada, temperatures could become dangerously hot for pets locked inside an enclosed space like a car. Law enforcement refer to these “dog in hot vehicle” cases as “hot dogs.”
Also, NRS 202.487 applies not only to pet owners but also to pet sitters, dog walkers, and anyone else in permanent or temporary custody of the animal. Anybody responsible for keeping a pet in a car under dangerous conditions faces animal cruelty charges.
It is a misdemeanor under Nevada state law to leave pets in parked cars under dangerous conditions. Punishments include:
It is rare for judges to impose jail for a first-time offense.
People charged with leaving their pet in a car under dangerous conditions in Nevada can argue that the conditions were in fact safe. Helpful evidence in these cases include:
Another possible defense is that the defendant was not the one who left the animal in the car, and that someone else put the pet in danger.
Finally, people who unintentionally locked their pet in a car during dangerous conditions are not criminally liable under NRS 202.487. They just need to seek help to free the animal as soon as they realize their mistake. 4
This varies case-by-case. If local Animal Control comes on the scene, it may try to petition the court for the defendant to surrender and forfeit the animal. But this typically only happens if the dog, cat, or other pet is in dire condition. As long as the pet is unharmed, Nevada judges usually allow defendants to keep their animal with a warning.
If police do confiscate the animal, the owner is entitled to know where it is being sheltered. If the owner does not reclaim the animal and pay any sheltering fees within the required time frame, the shelter could then rehome animal or even euthanize it.
Yes. People convicted of leaving their dog, cat, or other pet in a vehicle under dangerous conditions can pursue a criminal record seal in Nevada one year after the case ends. And if the charge gets dismissed, the defendant can pursue a seal right away. 5 Learn how to seal Nevada criminal records.
Good Samaritans can call the local public safety / animal control officers. The number for the Clark County Animal Control (CCAC) is 702-455-7710. The number for the Washoe County Regional Animal Services Dispatch (WCRAS) is 775-322-3647.
After hours, phone 911. Police officers or first responders will come on the scene.6
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.
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