– Pets left unattended in hot cars earned protection Wednesday under a new Pennsylvania law signed by the governor, said Rep. Frank Farry (R-Bucks), author of the legislation.
The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act (Act 104 of 2018
) prohibits 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.
“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. “These deaths are tragic and entirely preventable.”
Under the new law, a police officer, humane officer or other public safety professional will soon 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 will not be held liable for any damages.
“You may think you’re being quick, but it only takes a few minutes for the inside of the car to reach nearly 100 degrees on a hot day, even with the windows cracked. Animals left in these conditions face irreversible organ damage, heat stroke, brain damage, and, in extreme cases, death,” Farry said.
“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,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director, Humane Society of the United States. “The HSUS applauds Rep. Farry for introducing this important bill, and Gov. Wolf for signing it into law.”
Act 104 takes effect in 60 days.
Representative Frank Farry
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Abbey Haslam