This is the seventh installment of our Sunday feature, “You Ask ... Patch Answers,” where we strive to find answers to all your questions—big, small and in-between—about the town we live and work in.
Whether it’s something you’ve always wondered about, some information you just can’t put your hands on or a sudden curiosity, we want to hear it.
Send your queries to or leave them in the comments section below, and I will do my best to dig up an answer for you. You also can call me at 408-391-8725.
This week's question: "I want to remain anonymous. I have a question about Los Gatos residents who claim they love their dogs so much, yet leave them unattended for hours in hot cars. I've seen several in the Old Town Center parking lot and also in the parking lot behind Cin-Cin Wine Bar. This is not only cruel, but illegal. Can you tell us if it's okay to leave pets in vehicles."
According to California Penal Code 597.7, "No person shall leave an animal in any 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 and water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal."
With the recent heat wave we've experienced, we've noticed first hand how the inside of cars parked out in the full sun reach dangerous boiling temperatures in a short matter of time. Imagine Fido exposed to such conditions.
Even if the car's windows are slightly cracked, an outside temperature of 85 degrees can cause the temperature inside the car to reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes and 120 degrees within half an hour. The extreme heat can leave your pet with brain damage or death.
A first conviction for violation of the law is punishable by a fine not exceeding $100 per animal. If the animal suffers great bodily injury, a violation of this section is punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
Subsequent violations are punishable by a fine not exceeding $500, imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
Also, police or animal control officers can remove an animal from a motor vehicle if its safety appears to be in immediate danger from heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal, according to the law.