SACRAMENTO, Calif. (FOX 11) - Officially it’s California Assembly Bill 797 but many refer to it simply as the “Hot Dog” bill.
In a nutshell, AB 797 would provide immunity from civil liability to a person who rescues an animal from a locked car, even if that rescue entails breaking a window or otherwise damaging the vehicle.
There are strict guidelines for the law, if passed, to apply such as first making sure the vehicle is really locked and there is no other point of access to safely remove the animal; a “good faith belief that forcible entry into the vehicle is necessary because the animal is in imminent danger of suffering harm; having called a “law enforcement agency, the fire department, animal control, or the 911 emergency service PRIOR to forcibly entering the vehicle” and the person who rescues the animal must remain with it until an officer arrives.
Sounds simple enough but the issue of well-intentioned people rescuing pets from cars has become a contentious one because more often than not we see the owner of the vehicle with the broken window angry at the rescuer and demanding reimbursement for the damage.
It happened to a man named Jonathan Parris in Florida who broke out the window of a truck to rescue a chocolate lab he thought was in distress. According to news reports, the owner of the truck was furious and demanded Parris pay for the window.
Parris says he ended up giving the guy $50 out of his own pocket to appease him. A small price to pay for the life of a dog but should a rescuer be held liable if they were acting in good faith?
Every year on the news we remind people of the obvious – don’t leave your children, seniors or pets in a hot car. Trust me, you feel like a fool doing it. I mean, how stupid does someone have to be to leave anyone locked inside a hot car?
But every year we report on the same sad stories over and over again. Dead babies and dead dogs. It never fails.
AB 797 isn’t law yet but people like Assemblyman Marc Steinorth of Rancho Cucamonga are working on it.
Steinorth, along with Ling Ling Chang of Diamond Bar and Kristin Olsen of Riverbank even made a video along with two other assembly members to prove this need by subjecting themselves to sitting in a hot car.
For more information on AB 797 CLICK HERE: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billVersionsCompareClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB797
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