Question: I came across the Minnesotan law that states animals cannot be kept in vehicles in a manner that endangers their safety. I also came across certain cities' laws that states you cannot idle your vehicle with the keys inside. Can you talk about pet safety, especially when the temperatures are high?

Answer: There is a Minnesota law that says a person may not leave a dog or a cat unattended in a standing or parked motor vehicle in a manner that endangers the pet’s health or safety. A peace officer, a humane agent, a dog warden or a volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department may use reasonable force to enter a motor vehicle and remove a dog or cat.

Please use caution and always look out for your pet’s well-being and safety.

Consider the following options:

  • Leave your pet at home whenever possible.

  • Arrange to have someone stay in the vehicle with the pet with the engine and air conditioner running.

  • Check with the business, as they may allow you to bring in your pet while shopping.

Below is a chart on how fast the inside of your vehicle can heat up. This study also found that cracking the windows had very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle.

Please do not leave your pet unattended in a vehicle, even for a short period as it could cause a serious medical condition or death to your pet.

As far as leaving your vehicle running unattended, there is no state law that prohibits it, but most cities and counties have local ordinances against it. Check your local ordinances in reference to this rule.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave, Duluth, MN 55811. You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NE or reach him at