Animals

PA Police Can Now Break Into Your Car to Rescue a Pet

The new law was signed last fall and is in effect this summer.


This summer, police officers in Pennsylvania have the authority to break into your car to rescue a pet that has been left behind.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA) signed the "Hot Car Bill" last fall, which protects law enforcement and emergency responders who rescue a pet they believe is in imminent danger .

State police told NBC 10 in Philadelphia a car left in the sun can heat up from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 113 degrees Fahrenheit in less than an hour

The officers must first make a reasonable effort to determine who the vehicle belongs to, but they are then able to smash a window or otherwise force their way into the car.

"Properly caring for and protecting your pets should be a priority for all pet owners," state police animal cruelty officer Michael Spada said.

The law does not extend such protections to civilians, so if you see a pet or child in a hot car, call 9-1-1.

Earlier this year, the State Senate passed a "Good Samaritan" law, which would protect somebody who broke into a car to rescued an unattended child from civil liability. The bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee .

When the bill passed the Senate in March, author Sen. Tom Killion (R-Chester/Delaware) said 20 other states already have similar laws on the books. Killion says at least 49 children died from vehicular heatstroke in the United States in 2018.

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