IL Laws on Leaving Pets in the Cold

leaving pets in the coldWith our area’s recent snap of extreme cold weather, you likely saw many articles regarding the issues of leaving pets outside in the cold. You may be wondering, what can the government do to stop people from leaving animals in vulnerable positions in bad weather?

The Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act addresses these issues. Specifically, 510 ILCS 70/3.01 states, in part, that no “owner of a dog or cat that is a companion animal may expose the dog or cat in a manner that places the dog or cat in a life-threatening situation for a prolonged period of time in extreme heat or cold conditions” that either result in injury or death of the animal or hypothermia, hyperthermia, frostbite or similar condition as diagnosed by a veterinarian.[1]This Section allows an animal to be taken into custody and impounded should it be found to be in an emergency situation.[2]

The Illinois State Legislature recently expanded this law to protect animals left in vehicles in extremely cold or hot weather. This addition to the law allows a police officer to take temporary custody of a dog or cat left in a vehicle for a prolonged period of time in extreme heat or cold conditions that may cause a life-threatening situation to the animal.[3]If a police officer takes temporary custody of an animal, they will attempt to contact the owner of the animal and will seek emergency veterinary care for the animal as soon as possible.[4]If the owner cannot be reached, the police officer will leave the information regarding where the animal is located and the owner of the animal will be responsible for any costs of care for the animal.[5]

Any person found to be violating the above-mentioned laws, may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and a second violation of these laws may be charged as a Class 4 felony.[6]

At Sherer Law Offices we care greatly about the animals in our community and through collaboration with Partners for Pets we want to ensure that these animals are protected. For more information regarding what to do if you see a pet that has been left in the cold, please see our recent video with Attorney Caitlin Embrich on these issues. Contact us at (618) 692-6656 with questions or to schedule an appointment regarding these laws.

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[1]510 ILCS 70/3.01(c)

[2]510 ILCS 70/3.01(c-5)

[3]510 ILCS 70/3.01(c-10)



[6]510 ILCS 70/3.01(d)

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