A man in Ireland has recently been cleared of animal welfare charges thanks to Tesla’s Dog Mode after local police were called on him for leaving his dog in his Model S on a hot day.
Ross Hunt, of Blackrock, Dublin left his Poodle, Loki, in his car during a lunch meeting at Roly’s Bistro in Ballsbridge, Ireland. A passerby saw Loki in Hunt’s Model S and notified local police. Hunt explained to a representative from the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that the vehicle was operating in Dog Mode, and that he was able to control the temperature from his phone.
Despite this, Hunt was charged for violating the country’s Animal, Health and Welfare Act. Hunt pleaded not guilty.
Hunt’s defense team was able to prove that Tesla’s Dog Mode was keeping the vehicle cabin on 20 degrees Celsius, or 68 degrees Fahrenheit, and Loki was never in any danger as he was able to control the climate of the vehicle through his Tesla app. Hunt, who runs an AI company that monitors the well-being of cows on farms in North America, used his employment information as further proof that he cares for animals.
Judge John Brennan dismissed the charges, noting that “it was quite clear he was very loving, responsible and caring dog owner”, according to Ihe Independent.
Dog Mode was rolled out by Tesla in February 2019 and was an extension of the Overheat Cabin Protection feature that ran the vehicle’s A/C whenever the cabin reached 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Dog Mode allows owners to keep dogs in an unattended vehicle in a safe way. The vehicle’s display notifies others of the temperature with a note that says, “My owner will be back soon. Don’t worry! The A/C is on and it’s [temperature].”
It is also able to be run when the weather is cold and will heat the car to keep animals safe. The addition of Dog Mode allows owners to take their pets with them on trips, even if they are visiting destinations that are not exactly “animal-friendly”.