What are the Laws in Arizona About Rescuing a Dog in a Hot Car?

With more and more studies coming out, from regular people sitting in cars with digital thermometers to controlled scientific experiments done by established organizations, folks are becoming more aware and concerned when they see a living creature alone in a locked car.

Most of us have heard the stories about people who have rescued dogs from cars, and may have different opinions about it. Even law enforcement and courts in states where it is prohibited for a citizen to take matters into their own hands find it difficult to prosecute offenders. In a recent case in Georgia, a man was acquitted of all criminal charges after unlawfully entering a hot car to rescue a dog. His efforts saved the dog and caused animal lovers in Georgia to demand new laws focused on animal rights.

There are 25 states to date with laws on the books allowing for either public officials to rescue, or in some states, anyone can do what is necessary to save an animal. Even in these states, many of the laws specify what kind of animal can be saved and other rules that must be adhered to for the rescue to be lawful.

Arizona Laws About Rescuing a Dog in a Hot Car
Upon witnessing a dog or other animal left in a car, especially if they seem to be in imminent danger or are in distress, it is only natural to want to do whatever necessary to rescue them. However, before you do, it’s important to know the laws in your state or be prepared to defend your actions to law enforcement and/or the courts.

The states that have the “Good Samaritan” laws regarding animals in hot cars include: California, Colorado, Florida, Indians, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Arizona.

These Good Samaritan laws allow for a private citizen to rescue an animal that is in distress or imminent danger. However, for a private citizen to lawfully enter a vehicle to rescue an animal most laws require you must first try to find the vehicles owner as well as contacting law enforcement and informing them of the situation. In states where the “Good Samaritan” law is in effect, someone who rescues an animal from a hot car is immune from being liable for damages occurred during the rescue.

Other Rules For Arizona Residents

With temperatures that remain higher than the rest of the nation year-round, living in Arizona means it is extremely important to be aware of the laws as both a pet owner and a concerned citizen.

The State of Arizona defines an animal as any mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian. That means one is not limited to rescuing only animals such as cats and dogs. Remember, removing a confined animal from an unattended car in Arizona requires that you:

  • Have good faith the animal is in danger if not removed
  • The vehicle is locked
  • Law has been contacted
  • No excessive force is used to enter the vehicle

The laws are always changing and many states have laws pending, so be sure to stay updated on the laws in your area. You can check a reputable site online that does frequent updates, such as Michigan State University’s Animal Legal and Historical Center, which has a table of state laws, or contact a legal professional in your area who will know your rights.


For more information of the dangers associated with hot cars, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/children.html

Concerned about the property damage and/or injury suffered from a pet rescue? Are you or a loved facing distress over the carelessness of another person or business? Simon Law Group serves the Phoenix area and can help. Get the advice you need today and contact Simon Law anytime day or night at 480-745-2450.