Hot-Car Pet Rescuers Get Immunity in California

     SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CN) — Good Samaritans will soon be allowed to break into hot cars to save trapped animals without fear of being sued now that California Gov. Jerry Brown inked the Right to Rescue Act this past weekend.
     The bill allows Californians – after calling law enforcement – to break the window of a parked vehicle and rescue a pet deemed in trouble. The bystanders must be sure that the animal is in danger, and wait for an officer to respond to the call.
     Brown, a dog owner, signed the bill Saturday during a scorching autumn heat wave. Temperatures reached 98 degrees in San Francisco and 96 degrees in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday.
     The bipartisan authors of Assembly Bill 797 said the measure will save animal lives.
     “No longer will Californians gather around a car in a parking lot feeling helpless while watching a pet suffer, or even die. Hot cars can be a real danger to our pets, and I am thrilled that California is giving Good Samaritans this layer of legal protection if they take heroic action to save a life,” Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said in a statement.
     Steinorth’s proposal was sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States and received unanimous support from the Legislature. The bill takes effect Jan. 1.
     Steinorth and two of his colleagues filmed a promotional video earlier this year to portray how hot parked cars can become with the windows up on a 90 degree day. It took just nine minutes for temperatures to reach 100 degrees inside the car, and the lawmakers lasted 21 minutes in the car before ending the experiment.
     “As Assemblymember Steinorth and I both came to understand earlier this year, it is unbearable to sit in a hot car, especially for our pets,” said Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles. “AB 797 allows Good Samaritans to safely and carefully rescue animals trapped in hot cars without fear of prosecution.”

%d bloggers like this: