With summer weather in the forecast, the Pennsylvania State Police are reminding pet owners to consider the health and safety of their animals.
In October of 2018, Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 104 of 2018, also known as the “Hot Car” Bill. It provides protections for law enforcement and emergency responders when a dog/cat is removed from a motor vehicle due to showing signs of distress.
The law states that:
- an officer or emergency responder must have a “good-faith and reasonable” belief that the dog/cat is in imminent danger;
- make a “reasonable” effort to locate the driver of the motor vehicle;
- take “reasonable” steps to ensure or restore the well-being of the dog/cat;
- use no more force than necessary to enter the motor vehicle; and
- leave notice on the vehicle about where the dog/cat can be retrieved.
“The law doesn’t give civilians the authority to take this type of action,” state police say. Anyone who sees a dog/cat inside a vehicle and it appears to be in distress should contact local authorities. “Do not enter the motor vehicle yourself.”
“Properly caring for and protecting your pets should be a priority for all pet owners,” adds PSP Animal Cruelty Officer Michael Spada. “Utilize common sense and contact your local veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.”
State police remind that animals can suffer from heat exhaustion and heat stroke, just like humans. “Both cats and dogs release heat through their paws and by panting. Ensure your pets have access to fresh, cool water and proper sustenance for the breed.”
State police say failure to comply with these regulations may result in criminal charges.