HARRISBURG (May 11, 2017) – State Senator Andy Dinniman’s legislation to prohibit leaving a dog or a cat in a hot vehicle was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

“There are too many stories of dogs succumbing to the heat because they were left in cars on warm, summer days,” Dinniman said. “This legislation aims to prevent such inhumane treatment while empowering law enforcement and public safety officials to rescue dogs from danger in such situations.

“As the temperatures begin to rise with the approach of summer, I want to remind all pet owners that dogs and cats can’t regulate their body temperatures like we do and are much more susceptible to the heat – especially when left in a car where temperatures can rise quickly,” he added.

Senate Bill 636, the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, makes it a summary offense (punishable by fine of up to $300) to confine a dog or cat in a vehicle under conditions that jeopardize the animal’s health.

The bill also gives police officers, humane officers or other public safety professionals the authority to remove the dog or cat from the unattended motor vehicle if they believe the dog or cat is suffering and is in danger after a reasonable search for the owner or operator of the vehicle. The animal must then be taken to a veterinary hospital or animal care clinic for a health screening and treatment.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, on an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 99 degrees in just ten minutes, 109 degrees within twenty minutes, and 114 degrees within thirty minutes. Animals do not perspire like humans do, so they have no way to cool down in hot conditions, potentially causing irreversible organ damage, heat stroke, brain damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Dinniman said that his bill is based on similar measures passed in other states. Currently, 17 states have laws that protect animals from being left in hot cars, with Arizona passing such a bill on May 10.

“The health of an animal can deteriorate very fast when exposed to extreme heat,” Dinniman said. “It is vital that we grant police officers and public safety personnel greater authority to act to save a dog or cat in distress if necessary.”

In addition, the bill stipulates that:

  • Police officers, humane officers or other or other public safety professionals cannot be held liable for potential damages to a vehicle in such rescue situations.
  • Police officers, humane officers or other or other public safety professionals must leave written notification on a vehicle upon removing a dog or car in distress.
  • That the vehicle’s owner be held liable for costs related to the subsequent veterinary care of the animal.

The bill, which has 12 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, now goes to the Senate floor.


Tagged with:

Upcoming Events

July 2019
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
June 30, 2019 July 1, 2019 July 2, 2019 July 3, 2019 July 4, 2019 July 5, 2019 July 6, 2019
July 7, 2019 July 8, 2019 July 9, 2019 July 10, 2019 July 11, 2019 July 12, 2019 July 13, 2019
July 14, 2019 July 15, 2019 July 16, 2019 July 17, 2019 July 18, 2019 July 19, 2019 July 20, 2019
July 21, 2019 July 22, 2019 July 23, 2019 July 24, 2019 July 25, 2019 July 26, 2019 July 27, 2019
July 28, 2019 July 29, 2019 July 30, 2019 July 31, 2019 August 1, 2019 August 2, 2019 August 3, 2019

Looking For Something

Still not finding what you're looking for? Please contact me or my staff so we can help you!