Wolf signs leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect dogs and cats left in hot cars

The Southern Berks News - - NEWS -

Gov. Tom Wolf re­cently signed leg­is­la­tion em­pow­er­ing law en­force­ment to take ac­tion to pre­vent the need­less suf­fer­ing of dogs and cats left unat­tended in cars. House Bill 1216, the Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Ex­treme Heat Pro­tec­tion Act, is the se­cond ma­jor piece of leg­is­la­tion signed by the gover­nor that in­creases pro­tec­tions for an­i­mals through­out the com­mon­wealth.

“A few months ago, we cel­e­brated the one-year an­niver­sary of the first sig­nif­i­cant strength­en­ing of Penn­syl­va­nia’s an­i­mal pro­tec­tion statutes in nearly 30 years with the en­act­ment of Act 10 of 2017, which in­cluded Li­bre’s Law,” said Gover­nor Wolf. “To­day, I am proud to sign this bill and build on the progress we have made for an­i­mals in the com­mon­wealth. Thank you to the ad­vo­cates and leg­is­la­tors who made this pos­si­ble.”

This law adds ve­hi­cle en­try to an al­ready ex­ist­ing law that al­lows of­fi­cers to en­ter a prop­erty to pro­vide care or im­pound an an­i­mal be­lieved to be a vic­tim of ne­glect or liv­ing below min­i­mum care stan­dards.

This new law raises aware­ness of the dan­gers of leav­ing pets in parked cars and em­pow­ers law en­force­ment to make de­ci­sions on be­half of an an­i­mal’s wel­fare by:

• Al­low­ing a po­lice of­fice, hu­mane of­fi­cer, an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cer or other pub­lic safety pro­fes­sion­als to re­move a dog or cat from an unat­tended mo­tor ve­hi­cle if they be­lieve the dog or cat is in im­mi­nent dan­ger or harm after a rea­son­able search for the op­er­a­tor of the ve­hi­cle

• Pro­tect­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer, hu­mane of­fi­cer, or pub­lic safety pro­fes­sional who re­moves a dog or cat from an unat­tended ve­hi­cle from li­a­bil­ity for any dam­ages.

• Re­quir­ing that an of­fi­cer who re­moves a dog or cat from an unat­tended ve­hi­cle must leave a con­spic­u­ous note for the owner stat­ing the of­fi­cer’s in­for­ma­tion and the in­for­ma­tion for where to pick up the pet.

• Up­dat­ing the def­i­ni­tion of ne­glect, pro­hibit­ing the con­fine­ment of a dog or cat in an unat­tended mo­tor ve­hi­cle in a man­ner that would en­dan­ger the health and well-be­ing of the an­i­mal.

House Bill 1216 also ex­pands the types of ser­vice dogs guar­an­teed pro­tec­tion in hous­ing and pub­lic places.

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