Sacramento, California– A new law allows Californians to rescue pets that are left in hot cars. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill Saturday. The initiative started after several animals died from heat stroke because their owners leave the innocent pets inside their vehicles with no air conditioner, no open windows and in everyday summer.
People can now rescue dogs and other animals from cars without fear of prosecution. But of course, there is a protocol to follow before breaking somebody else’s window. Rescuers can damage others property to save an animal only when the animal appears to be in peril, and there is no other way to save it.
When noticing a trapped animal inside a hot car, Californians must make sure there is no other way to rescue it. First, the person has to call the police after the individual failed to locate the owner of the pet. If the law enforcement is taking too long and the animal’s life is endangered, people can smash a window to help the pet.
If a citizen does break a car’s window to save a pet, the person must wait for the police to take note of the incident. People need to keep in mind that the action of damaging private property can be done only if waiting for the police officers could risk the animal’s life.
The bill was promoted after a series of incidents in which dogs died after being left in the car with no measures to protect them from the heat. Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga), Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), the Human Society of the United States, the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, and others introduced the bill to prevent the death of more animals due to human irresponsibility.
The AB 797 law provides immunity from civil liability to a person causing vehicle damage for the purpose of rescuing the animal.
Steinorth stated on his Facebook page “We’re very excited about the lives this new bill will save.” He also thanked everyone who helped raise awareness on the matter and showed their support.
Even when it seems obvious, no living being must be left inside a car on a hot day, no matter if it is ‘just for 10 minutes.’
On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach between 100 and 120 degrees and more in just minutes, according to PETA. Thus, people should not leave their pets inside their vehicle during hot days for any reason, even if you think “it will only take a minute.”
People leaving animals inside cars in hot days can provoke them brain damage or even death from heatstroke in just 15 minutes. For dogs, it is particularly difficult to cool themselves if they are inside a car because they can only regulate their temperature by panting and by sweating through their paw pads.
Heatstroke symptoms in dogs include restlessness, thick saliva, excessive thirst, heavy panting, dark tongue, lethargy, lack of appetite, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and lack of coordination. If a person sees these symptoms in a dog, the individual must take the animal to a fresh place, and if possible, to a car with air conditioning. Then, a veterinarian must see the dog.
People might think that if the dog is left inside a car with air conditioning the animal will be just fine
There have been many cases in which dogs died because they were left inside a hot car, but initially, the car had the A/C on. A recent case at Porterville shows how a Police K-9 dog died because it was left inside the patrol car.
On June 2016 the officer responsible for Idol left him inside the vehicle. The temperature outside was over 90 degrees, and he left the animal with the engine running to let him cool off after a training session with his handler, officer Oscar Vargas.
Police Captain Jake Castellow said Porterville police equip their K-9s with warning systems that alert handlers when temperatures are too high for the dog, but for Idol, the systems did not activate after the A/C stopped working. After leaving the animal inside the car for more than an hour, the officer found the dog dead.