Code of the District of Columbia

§ 8–1808.02. Animals left in vehicles.

(a) An owner or custodian shall not leave an animal alone in a vehicle in such a way as to endanger the animal's health or safety.

(b) After making a reasonable attempt to contact the owner or custodian, an animal control officer, firefighter, or law enforcement officer may use reasonable force to remove the animal from the vehicle whenever it appears that the animal's health is endangered; provided, that no attempt to contact the owner or custodian is required if the animal is in immediate danger or appears in distress.

(c) Following an animal's removal from a vehicle by an animal control officer, firefighter, or law enforcement officer, the animal shall be impounded and medical care shall be provided if needed. A written notice shall be left attached to the vehicle identifying the responding animal control officer, firefighter, or law enforcement officer, and providing a phone number, time, date, and the location where the animal is being held.

(d)(1) Any person found in violation of subsection (a) of this section shall be responsible for all expenses incurred by the District in the care, medical treatment, and impound cost of the animal.

(2) The District shall not be responsible for the:

(A) Injury or death to an animal due to enforcement of subsections (b) and (c) of this section; or

(B) Cost of any damage to a vehicle due to enforcement of subsections (b) and (c) of this section.


(Oct. 18, 1979, D.C. Law 3-30, § 9b; as added Dec. 20, 2017, D.C. Law 22-37, § 2(k), 64 DCR 11682.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 2(k) of Standard of Care for Animals Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-165, Oct. 23, 2017, 64 DCR 10792).