Can a car get towed with a dog in it? - SUV VEHICLE

Can a car get towed with a dog in it?


With the number of cars being towed on the rise, we look at what happens when a beloved pup is still inside the offending vehicle.

It is expensive, inconvenient and downright frustrating when your car gets towed. And yet the number of cars getting towed across Australia is on the up: according to The Age, in Melbourne alone, the number of cars towed in 2023 increased by 782 compared with 2022. 

RELATED: Can I leave my dog in the car for five minutes?

While it’s bad enough to have your daily driver taken away, it could be even worse if there’s precious cargo in the back.

To find out whether a car can be towed with a dog, animal or pet inside, we spoke to the road authorities around Australia. 

Can you tow a car with a dog in it? 

There is no hard and fast rule as to whether a car can be towed with a dog in it – but it’s certainly possible. 

According to different road authorities across Australia, the decision comes down to the towing company and the individual circumstances involved. 

In New South Wales, for example, if an illegally parked vehicle has an animal inside, the driver of the tow vehicle will immediately call the Transport Management Centre (TMC). 

The TMC will then work with New South Wales Police to establish contact with the vehicle owner. If contact cannot be made, the vehicle will either be towed with the animal still inside or the police will come to remove the animal before towing. 

In Queensland, a Transport and Main Roads spokesperson told Drive: “It may be down to individual contracts with towing companies by different organisations responsible for towing (councils or so on) or a judgement call by the towing provider”. 

What about if a car breaks down and the driver has their dog with them? 

Again, it is up to the individual tow truck company to decide whether the dog can be transported. 

If it’s the company’s policy that animals are not allowed in the tow truck cabin, then the driver’s consent is required to tow the vehicle with the animal in the car. Otherwise, the driver will have to find an alternative method of transporting their pet away from the scene. 

How much does it cost when your car gets towed? 

The final cost of getting a vehicle towed will vary based on different councils and towing companies. The location, size of the vehicle and time of day may also impact the total amount. 

Then there are administrative fees: you may also receive a parking fine, a vehicle release fee, a company administration fee… the list goes on. So whatever the initial tow-away cost is, expect to see that number increase as additional fees are applied.  

The initial towing fee varies between states and territories. For example, New South Wales fees start at $229. In Victoria, the initial tow-away fee is $361, and in Queensland the fee is $405.30 for the first 50 kilometres, then $8.05 for every kilometre after that. 

Is it illegal to leave a dog in the car?

It may feel unethical to leave a pet unattended in a car for a long period of time, but in most states and territories across Australia, it is not illegal until the animal begins showing signs of distress.

Of course, it is always illegal to leave a dog in the boot of a sedan-type car.

Each state and territory has its own penalties and rules in place when it comes to animals in cars. 

Victoria is the only state that stipulates a specific time an animal can be left unattended in a car. The state’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (POCTA) Act states: “It is illegal to leave an animal unattended inside a car for more than 10 minutes when outside temperatures are at or above 28 degrees Celsius”. 

If you’re found guilty of such an offence, the penalty is roughly a $40,000 fine or 12 months in prison if an animal is discovered in distress; double that fine and jail time if the animal is found dead. 

For example, in New South Wales, the owner can receive a fine of $5500 and a six-month jail sentence. In the upsetting instance of a dog dying as a consequence of being left unattended, owners can be charged $22,500 and spend up to two years in jail. 

In South Australia, owners face a $50,000 fine or four years in prison. In Western Australia, increase that jail term to five years. 

The post Can a car get towed with a dog in it? appeared first on Drive.



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