Happening in The West: A New Dog Protection Bill Proposed

Several California legislators have proposed a new measure that would allow Good Samaritans who spot an unattended dog in distress in a locked car to break a car window if necessary to rescue the creature from overheating. Summer temperatures in parts of California sometimes reach high levels, and within an enclosed vehicle on a blistering hot 95 degree Fahrenheit day temperatures can rise to over 114 degrees F within ten minutes. Just like people, dogs exposed to these conditions may develop fatal heat stroke.

Under the proposed legislation, a citizen seeking to rescue dogs would need to perform several steps to avoid criminal charges: the individual would need to confirm that dog suffered in the enclosed vehicle and could not exit through an unlocked door or open window. Additionally, the would-be rescuer would need to contact law enforcement assistance on behalf of the dog and wait with the pet for help to arrive. The law would not enable anyone to cause more damage to the vehicle than necessary to extract the dog from the locked car.

Lawmakers sponsoring the California bill include Ling Ling Chang of Diamond Bar, Kristin Olsen of Riverbank and Marc Steinorth of Rancho Cucamonga. Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, who helped draft the proposed legislation, recently joined a Humane Society representative at a press conference to demonstrate the high environmental temperatures that occur within locked cars in hot weather.