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Pennsylvania Passes New Law to Increase Pet Safety in Cars

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Dog in Car

Winter brings chilly temperatures to many states in the U.S., and Pennsylvania is definitely one of them.

Now, pets living in the Keystone State will benefit from a recently-passed law. Formerly called “the hot car bill,” Act 104 of 2018 enables public safety professionals to remove unattended animals from hot or cold vehicles, without liability for vehicle damage.

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What to do if you see an unattended pet

If you live in Pennsylvania and see an unattended animal in a car, contact a local humane officer or law enforcement official. Stay with the vehicle until authorities arrive to rescue the animal. You’ll also want to avoid confronting the owner. Make sure you write down important information like the time, location, make/model of the vehicle, and description of the pet owner. This will help assist the authorities with a follow-up investigation.

While the new law does allow public safety professionals to break into the vehicle if need be, it does have a provision to help the negligent owner. The person rescuing the pet must leave a note with contact info, as well as the pickup location for their animal.

Cat in Crate in CarTips for keeping your pet safe in the car

What if you’re not sure whether it’s safe to leave your pet alone in a vehicle? Kristen Tullo, the Pennsylvania’s state director of the Humane Society, puts forward a good rule of thumb to follow. If it’s too cold outside for the pet, then it will likely be too cold inside the car.

She also warns owners about the risk of a pet overheating in a parked car in the winter due to direct sunlight hitting the vehicle as well as the heat being turned on. It’s a common misconception that overheating is a risk to pets only in warm weather.

We commend Pennsylvania for establishing this new law that should help pets stay safer when traveling via car.

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News Sources: Citizens’ Voice, The Morning Call