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Lawmakers Unveil Legislation to Protect Pets Left Unattended in Cars
8/25/2015
HARRISBURG – State Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), along with Rep. Kevin Schreiber (D-York) and state Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin/Perry), unveiled legislation today to protect pets left unattended in a car.

The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act (House Bill 1516), which was announced during a news conference at the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area, would prohibit 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. This violation would be a summary offense.

A police officer, public safety professional or humane officer would have the authority to remove the dog or cat from the unattended motor vehicle if the officer believes the dog or cat is suffering and endangered after a reasonable search for the owner or operator of the vehicle. The officer who removes a cat or dog from an unattended vehicle would not be held liable for any damages.

If an officer removes a dog or cat from an unattended motor vehicle, the officer would be required to take it to a veterinary hospital or animal care clinic for a health screening and treatment. The officer who removed the dog or cat must also leave a note stating the officer’s information and the information for where to pick up the pet.

Farry’s House Bill 1516 has 25 co-sponsors. The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 977, has nine co-sponsors. Both bills have bipartisan support.

“It may seem convenient to leave our pet in the car to run errands, but it’s extremely irresponsible and it endangers the life of our beloved dog or cat,” said Teplitz. “Pets are not just domestic animals; they are members of our family. It’s against the law to leave a child in a hot car, so it should also be illegal to confine a dog or cat in a hot car.”

Currently 17 states have laws to protect animals from being left in hot cars, the most recent enacted in Tennessee.

“The heat of summer can be dangerous for animals, especially those left inside hot cars. Every year, countless animals die after being left behind while their owners work, visit, shop or run other errands,” said Farry (R-Bucks). “These deaths are tragic and entirely preventable.”

On an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 99 degrees in just 10 minutes and 114 degrees within 30 minutes. Animals left in these sweltering conditions face irreversible organ damage, heat stroke, brain damage, and, in extreme cases, death.

“Too many times we see pets left in hot cars as their owner runs an errand,” said Schreiber (D-York). “You may think you are being quick but it doesn’t take long for the inside of the car to reach over 100 degrees, even with the windows cracked. This legislation is aimed at protecting pets and preventing a tragedy.”

The Humane Society of the United States supports the legislation and helped the lawmakers craft the language.

“The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act protects animals,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director, the Humane Society of the United States. “Pennsylvanians value their pets as family members, yet some mistakenly believe an animal can be comfortable or safe left unattended in a vehicle. This act will raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars and prevent needless suffering.”

Representative Frank Farry
142nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam
717.260.6222
ahaslam@pahousegop.com
RepFarry.com
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