A new law in Georgia would protect people who rescue animals trapped in hot cars on scorching days.
We here this story all too often: some heartless and thoughtless human being leaves their dog in a hot car on a hot day, and returns an hour later to find their precious pooch cooked to death. In most places, it is illegal to lock your dog in a hot car, but usually the penalty is just a fine.
But what if you’re an animal lover and spot a dog in distress trapped inside a car? Well, you could break into the car to save the dog, but then you’d be liable for any damages done to the person’s vehicle even as you saved their dying pupper. You could call the cops, but they might not make it in time to save the dog since temperatures can soar as much as 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes inside a car.
It’s a catch 22 where dogs are the ones caught in the middle. But a new law being created in Georgia might just change the game.
A proposed bill from Georgia state senator Kay Kirkpatrick would extend protections to people who save animals trapped in cars and are in distress whether from extreme cold or extreme heat. Called Bill 32, it would immunize people from being sued for damages if they break into a car that some horrible person has locked their dog in.
Technically it’s an amendment to a previously passed law that protects people from rescuing children locked in hot cars. The entire bill reads:
“A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 1 of Title 51 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to general provisions relative to torts, so as to provide for conditions upon immunity from civil liability in instances of rendering emergency care; to limit liability for property damage caused by the rescue or attempted rescue of animals locked in motor vehicles; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.”
However, protection is only offered if the person breaking the car window also calls 911. If no emergency call is made, no protection is given. This is to prevent someone from breaking into a car and then arguing in court that there was a dog in distress, or even breaking into a car with the intent of kidnapping a dog.
Kirkpatrick told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the idea came from studying laws that protect service or therapy animals. She has a 14-year-old therapy Goldendoodle named Dobie, so she was placed on the team as someone with experience with service animals.
Bill 32 is still in committee with no hearing date set, but senators expect this to eventually become signed into law.