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By Coleman Molnar – driving.ca
A Georgia state senator has introduced a bill that would help protect dogs from perishing from heat exhaustion or any other impending threat while locked in cars.
Specifically, it grants legal permission to those who would come to the rescue by smashing the vehicle’s window or otherwise breaking in to free the endangered dog, and prohibits the vehicle’s owners from seeking compensation for damages made to the vehicle.
Republican Senator and physician Kay Kirkpatrick – who herself owns a 14-year-old goldendoodle therapy dog – recently introduced Senate Bill 32, which would amend an existing law that permits Good Samaritans from saving kids locked in hot cars to also include Man’s Best Friends, and not just their children.
Here’s the bill’s official verbiage:
‘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.’
It seems like a no-brainer, but many states still lack legislation allowing for such canine-life-saving actions. Not to mention Canada, where there’s no such protection for would-be-helpful bystanders.
There are hefty repercussions in some provinces – including a $75,000 fine and two years in jail in BC – for those who lock their pets in unsafe vehicles, and dedicated SPCA agents who do have the power to break windows, but if you, as an ordinary citizen, take it upon yourself to act on behalf of the dog’s health and damage a vehicle, there is technically a legal course for the owner to seek damages. Woof.
The law is arguably more pressing in Georgia, where temperatures soar for much of the year, but before you go smashing windows in the Peach State, however, know that there’s a stipulation. It’s not enough just to break in—you’ve also got to notify the authorities.
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