New Bill Lets Californians Rescue Pets From Hot Cars

Unfortunately, we’ve all seen this at one time or another. We’re walking through the store parking lot on a warm day, and there’s a dog inside a car with the windows rolled all the way up—a life-threatening situation. (Cracking the window a little doesn’t do much, but I won’t get on my soapbox asking “What were these people thinking?!”)

California Governor Jerry Brown has just signed a bill allowing people to use force to break into a car to rescue the animal. “The Right to Rescue Act,” AKA Assembly Bill 797 says that folks have to contact law enforcement if they see such a situation. If there’s no immediate response, however, you’re now allowed to smash the glass to rescue the animal, and then you have to wait until police arrive on the scene.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill “provides immunity from civil and criminal liability to a person causing vehicle damage for the purpose of rescuing the animal.” The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Marc Steinorth and others after incidents where dogs passed away as a result of being locked in hot vehicles.

In a Facebook chat with Simplemost, Assemblyman Steinorth told us,

I am very pleased Governor Brown chose to sign AB797, The Right to Rescue Act. It’s been illegal to leave animals unattended in vehicles for over 10 years. Now after following five required steps, Good Samaritan protections are provided to those who choose to rescue an animal trapped inside of a hot car facing imminent death. This law will save lives.

Assemblyman Marc Steinorth/Facebook

Steinorth isn’t merely paying lip service to this bill- he practices what he preaches. He took the Hot Car Challenge to find out just how hot it gets inside locked cars.

As you might expect—it got very toasty in a hurry.

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Here is a list of other states that have similar laws. Regrettably, not all 50 states have yet taken the steps California just has: to not only make leaving pets in a hot car illegal, but to make rescuing them legal.

h/t: Mental Floss.