This petition was submitted during the 2015–2017 Conservative government

Petition Amend the Animal Welfare Act;make it illegal to leave an animal in a hot vehicle

We would like to see a change to the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to make it illegal to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal through leaving it unattended in a hot vehicle, long enough to result in any level of discomfort to that animal.

More details

My name is Claire Grundy, I'm the Operations Manager of Birchwood Shopping Centre, Warrington. As part of Shopping Centre life we experience many things, including the seasonal issue of dogs left in cars in unbearable heat. Despite many powerful campaigns, some pet owners still leave their beloved pets in their vehicles during hot weather, possibly unaware of the dangerous physical affects to the animal. If the animal dies this is handled by the Animal Welfare Act – but isn't death far too late?

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

10,184 signatures

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 March 2016

The Animal Welfare Act is one of the most comprehensive pieces of legislation to protect animal welfare anywhere in the world. There is therefore no need to change the law as suggested.

Read the response in full

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is the principal animal welfare legislation. There are significant penalties for committing an offence under the Act. Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, face an unlimited fine or be sent to prison. The Government takes animal welfare issues very seriously and it is one of its priorities to ensure that, as far as possible, all animals in the care of humans are looked after appropriately.

There are codes of practice for the welfare of dogs, cats, horses (including other equidae) and privately kept non-human primates. They provide owners and keepers with information on how to meet the welfare needs of their animals, as required under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. They can also be used in courts as evidence in cases brought before them relating to poor welfare. The codes apply to England only (Wales and Scotland have their own equivalent codes), and are in force from 6 April 2010.

Under the 2006 Act, it is an offence either to cause any captive animal unnecessary suffering or to fail to provide for the welfare needs of the animal. Anyone who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs, may be banned from owning animals, face an unlimited fine, be sent to prison or both. The court may, in addition to any other punishment on conviction, deprive a person of ownership of an animal as it thinks fit, if it is satisfied that to leave the animal with the owner would expose it to further cruelty. The court may also disqualify the person convicted from having custody of any animal for such a period (including life) as it thinks fit.

There have been occasions in the past where prosecutions have been made to those who have left dogs in hot cars, resulting in the death of the animal. Therefore there is no need to amend the Animal Welfare Act as it stands because this falls under the existing legislation:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Other parliamentary business

Get involved with House of Commons Committee inquiry on animal welfare in relation to domestic pets

You may be interested to know that the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee is currently looking into animal welfare in relation to domestic pets, including cats, dogs and horses. It will focus on the Animal Welfare Act which places a legal obligation on owners and keepers of animals to care for them properly. The Committee wants to examine the effectiveness of the Act and its enforcement with regards to domestic animals. It will also look at whether that Act and other existing legislation remains fit for purpose in the age of the internet with regards to the sale of domestic pets.

The Committee is asking for written submissions from people on the following issues:

-The effectiveness of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 with regard to domestic pets;
-Regulation surrounding the sale of domestic pets, including online sales and advertising;
-Enforcement of current animal welfare legislation, including prosecution of offences by the police, local authorities, the RSPCA and others;
-Comparative approaches to enforcement in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

The deadline for submissions is Thursday 17 March 2016.

You can find out more about the Committee's inquiry here:

You can watch a short video about how Select Committees work here:

You can find out more about how to send a submission to a Select Committee here:

You can follow the EFRA Committee on Twitter: @CommonsEFRA