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LA Law: Leaving an Animal Unattended in a Vehicle
However, there are provisions in the California penal code related to leaving one’s animal unattended in a vehicle, and in certain situations this is considered a criminal offense. However, the code specifies that it is only a violation of animal cruelty laws to “confine” the animal in conditions of “heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water.” Although the law protects animals from abuse, it can also lead to a misunderstanding in which a reasonable pet owner is punished after an animal control officer or other witness spots the animal in the vehicle.
If you did not endanger your animal by your actions and the circumstances are such that you believe the charges against you are not justified, you should contact our law firm. Our attorneys are well versed in animal abuse laws and can advocate for you based on the inexact nature of these laws. (For example, “lack of food or water” would be an unfair reason to fine or convict the defendant if he or she had just recently fed the animal.)
Penal Code 597.7 also states that the pet may be returned to the owner “only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment, or impoundment,” and so part of our job is to determine the fairness of these fees.
Don’t let yourself be charged for a crime you didn’t commit. Again, leaving your animal unattended is not a crime, unless they are being endangered according to specific criteria. Our attorneys know that this room for interpretation can sometimes skew unfairly against the pet owner. Just because an animal control officer witnesses something does not mean that their out of context perspective is infallible, and we will protect you against court judgment bias.
Whether the provisions of Penal Code 597.7 are landing you a $100 fine (first offense not causing harm), half a year in prison (subsequent offense, if the animal is deemed harmed), or an even steeper sentence due to animal abuse charges, our attorneys will fight to ensure that you are not wrongly found guilty. We will ensure that you are not penalized when you are a sensible and caring pet owner who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If you find yourself in need of our services, our criminal defense attorneys offer free consultations as well as helpful information and resources on animal abuse. Call us or visit one of our local offices, and you’ll have no reason to panic about Penal Code 597.7 being applied to you unfairly. If your animal didn’t suffer, then neither should you — we will do everything in our power to give you fair and equitable representation in court. Call us today and schedule a consultation.