The bill outlines that emergency responders would be able to use any reasonable means to enter a vehicle if they suspect an animal is at risk.
Officials would be able to respond if they feel “conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or under other endangering conditions.” However, they must first make a reasonable efffort to locate the owner or other person responsible for the animal.
The legislation was passed this past week and now goes on to the Governor’s office before being signed into law. The amendment to Senate Bill 626 was co-sponsored by Pricey Harrison after she learned how hot the inside of a car gets when left in the heat.
She told WFMY News, “I was surprised that we did not have a state law that allows for the rescue of animals left in hot cars. 14 other states do.” She said veterinarians raised the issue to her after seeing several cats and dogs that’ve been kept in hot cars on a weekly basis.
But she pointed out that it does not mean ordinary citizens can be vigilante animal rescuers. Instead, if someone sees an animal in distress they should call 911.