Dog lovers and auto body shop owners rejoice! On July 31, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law authorizing firefighters and EMTs to remove animals from unattended cars when conditions could be deleterious to the pet’s health.
This law will expedite wait times for those calling to report an animal in danger when local police are indisposed. The new law states, “A person shall not confine a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to exposure to such extreme heat or cold.” First time offenders will be fined between $50 and $100. A second offense will carry a fine between $100 and $250. The law went into effect immediately.
Cuomo justified his support of the law in a press release saying, “Leaving a pet in a stifling hot or freezing cold car is inhumane and potentially dangerous, and emergency responders should have the ability to remove them if necessary. As a dog owner myself, I am proud to sign this measure into law to help ensure the safety and well-being of animals.”
The safety of man’s best friend seems to be a priority on both sides of the aisle, as Republican NY State Senator Kenneth LaValle explained that the law will be “saving critical minutes and the lives of innocent animals.” He adds, “Too often we hear stories about an animal who has died due to the reckless behavior of its owner. This measure will offer greater protections to our precious pets and penalize those who put them in harm’s way.” Democratic NY Sate Assemblyman Fred Thiele expressed similar sentiments, adding that the law “will allow our firefighters to put that training to good use when a pet is threatened by extreme temperatures in a motor vehicle.”
For any vigilante on the edge of their seat, the law applies exclusively to emergency responders. It provides NO protection from civil or criminal liability to private citizens. Instead, dial 911.