Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh considers outlawing leaving pets in cars

Dog in car
[Photo Credit: Rusty Clark via Flickr]

After several reports of animal cruelty rattling the state last week — including a Trussville, Ala. woman whose dog died after being left in her car for nearly eight hours — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh announced he will be looking into filing legislation to change the Yellowhammer State’s laws on leaving animals in an unattended vehicle.

“I am looking into having legislation drafted to prohibit people from leaving animals unattended in their vehicles,” Marsh posted on Facebook. “The recent incident of a person leaving a dog in the car for seven hours should have never happened.”

Although the Trussville woman was ultimately charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, there is no specific legislation outlawing leaving your animal in a vehicle. Current Alabama laws do not offer protection for those who would seek to release animals left in cars by breaking a window, or breaking into the vehicle.

Marsh wants to change that.

“A child can’t fend for themselves in a situation like that, nor can a dog or cat,” Marsh told “It would basically say you cannot leave an animal unattended under those circumstances.”‘

Alabama might be on the cusp of a major animal rights shift.

Friday, the Greater Birmingham Humane Society(GBHS) called for legislative action against puppy mills in the state following a puppy mill bust in Trussville. GBHS CEO Allison Black Cornelius took to Facebook, to plead with voters and local legislators to file legislation in the next session to protect animals within the state.

“It has been a very sad week for animals in our community with the passing of a dog left in a car in extreme heat and a puppy mill bust,” the group posted on Facebook. “GBHS Chief Executive Officer, Allison Black Cornelius, urges citizens to remember these two cases when the next legislative session begins and offer your support to promote legislation that protects animals in our state.”

Several legislative attempts have been made to change the laws regarding both puppy mills and animal deaths in cars, but to no avail. Tuscaloosa-Democratic Rep. Chris England sponsored a bill in the 2017 legislative session that would have allowed a “good samaritan” to break a car window without fear of punishment, but it was proposed too late.