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Leaving animals in cars must result in charges

Posted: June 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: June 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.

California Penal Code section 597.7 reads, "No person shall leave or confine any animal in an unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability or death to the animal."

Contrary to the news article ("No charges against dog owner who left Chihuahua in parked car for 6 hours," June 6), the animal does not have to die in order for the responsible person to be charged.

Unless the animal suffers great bodily injury, the punishment for the first conviction for violation of this section is a fine not exceeding $100. If the animal suffers great bodily injury, the punishment is $500, imprisonment in county jail or both.

The owner or person responsible should be charged in this case; if not, it sends a message that cruelty and neglect are OK as long as the animal doesn’t die.

Animals are at the mercy of those who are supposed to treat and care for them with love, kindness and compassion. They can’t speak — we must be their voice.


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