A Tesla owner in Ireland was charged with endangering his dog after leaving it in his car, but he was finally cleared in court after proving that his Model S was on “Dog Mode.”
Tesla’s “Dog Mode” is a software feature meant to keep animals at a safe temperature inside their electric cars.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell if an electric vehicle is on, which can be worrying if dogs are inside the vehicle and it’s not evident that the AC is running.
Tesla has already made updates to its software to help with child or pet safety with its Cabin Overheat Protection feature released in 2016.
Earlier this year, Tesla built on the feature to release “Dog Mode,” which keeps climate control and displays a message on the screen that clearly displays the temperature and reassures passersby that any animal inside the vehicle is fine.
In June, Ross Hunt, an artificial intelligence expert, left his poodle in his Model S with Dog Mode on while he went to a meeting with his solicitor at a bistro in Dublin.
While he was in the pub, a passerby saw the dog inside the car, but they didn’t see that the AC was on and was concerned that he might be hot because it was a particularly warm day.
They alerted a Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) inspector and a police officer.
Ireland’s Independent reported:
Ms. Martin said the owner of the car, Mr. Hunt, came running from the direction of Ballsbridge and was shouting, ‘That’s my car,’ a few minutes after gardai and the DSPCA arrived.
Hunt told the court that he thought they were about to break the window to rescue the dog.
He argued with them for a while and showed them his Tesla app to prove that the temperature inside the car was being controlled at 20 degrees Celsius (68F), but the police officer told him that everything he said could be used against him and they charged him.
In court, they subpoenaed a Tesla technician from the Dublin service center to explain how the Dog Mode and climate control system works.
Hunt also showed that he would never endanger his dog, Loki, and that he comes with him everywhere, and he is even somewhat of a mascot for his company.
Judge John Brennan said he accepted Hunt’s evidence and dismissed the charges.
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