Sgt. Troy Christianson mug

Sgt. Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I came across the Minnesota law that states animals cannot be kept in vehicles in a manner that endangers their safety. I also came across certain cities’ laws that states you cannot idle your vehicle with the keys inside. Can you talk about pet safety, especially when the temperatures are high?

Answer: Minnesota law states that a person may not leave a dog or cat unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the health or safety of the pet. A peace officer, a humane agent, a dog warden or a volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department may use reasonable force to enter a motor vehicle to remove a dog or cat.

Please use caution and always be alert to your pet’s safety and well-being.

Consider these options:

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  • Leave your pet at home when possible.
  • Have someone remain in the vehicle with the pet with the engine and air conditioner running.
  • Check with the business, as they may allow you to bring your pet in while shopping.

Temperatures rising dramatically in a closed car, and studies have found that cracking the windows had very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle.

Do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period. because it could cause a serious medical condition or death to your pet.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

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If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)


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