NH Law About... Animals in Hot Cars

Introduction to... Animals in Hot Cars

Updated April 6, 2018. 

No, we're not talking about stolen cars or sports cars, but about animals left in parked cars in hot weather. New Hampshire has had a law since 1981 that prohibits confining animals in a motor vehicle or other enclosed space that subjects them to either very hot or very cold temperatures. The statute governing this conduct, RSA 644:8-aa, Animals in Motor Vehicle, is short and straightforward. Anyone in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, for a second or subsequent offense, of a felony. RSA 644:8 defines cruelty to animals and lists the penalties for violating the law.

Unlike some other states, in New Hampshire only law enforcement officers or agents of licensed humane organizations can act to rescue the animal; there is no Good Samaritan immunity from liability for anyone else.

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ... is not a substitute for the services of an attorney. 

Read about... Animals in Hot Cars


Governor's Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

To report Animal Cruelty: If you are aware of an animal cruelty or neglect situation where the animal's life is in immediate danger, contact the police department of the town where the animal is located.   GO>

New Hampshire. Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food. How to Report Animal Cruelty

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Animal cruelty is in the Criminal Code in New Hampshire, thus it is the purview of police. As such, according to NH law all complaints must be filed with local law enforcement. If someone sees an act that they believe to be animal cruelty, it should be reported to local law enforcement officials   GO>

Animal Legal and Historical Center. Table of State Laws that Protect Animals Left in Parked Vehicles. 2017

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

This table describes the laws that concern leaving a companion animal unattended in a parked vehicle. Approximately 27 states have laws that deal with animals left in unattended vehicles. Most of these laws provide that the animal must be confined or unattended in a parked or stationary vehicle. Further, the laws add that in order for a person to violate the law, the conditions have to endanger the animal's life. Under some state laws, law enforcement or other individuals are allowed to rescue animals left under extreme conditions.   GO>

Animal Legal and Historical Center. Table of Veterinary Reporting Requirement and Immunity Laws

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

This table lists the 31 state laws related to the reporting of animal cruelty by veterinarians and the 8 states that have administrative provisions that concern reporting of animal cruelty.   GO>

What to Do If You See a Pet in a Parked Car

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Leaving pets locked in cars is never safe. But when the weather gets warmer, it can be deadly. High temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and even death. Protecting animals from an unnecessary death is a problem we can all agree to prevent.   GO>

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Read the law about... Animals in Hot Cars


RSA 625:9. Classification of Crimes  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

RSA 644. Breaches of the Peace and Related Offenses  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>

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