Bills propose penalties for leaving pets in hot cars

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – Two bills pending in the state legislature would prohibit pet owners from leaving their cats and dogs alone in a car if it endangers the animal’s health.

House Bill 1516 and Senate Bill 977 would include Pennsylvania among a growing number of states that have laws to protect unattended pets.

“I mean, I really want to break a window or say something to someone that can help out because they really can die in there,” said Halle Kauffman, who was running errands with her dog.

If passed, the legislation would allow law enforcement to do just that.

“It gives them the protection to enter the vehicle, to break a window, to get in and get the animal out,” state Rep. Kevin Schreiber (D-York), a co-sponsor of House Bill 1516, said.

On an 80-degree day, temperatures inside a car can reach 99 degrees in just 10 minutes; 109 degrees within 10 minutes; and 114 degrees within 30 minutes.

“If you have an animal, you need to treat it right,” Diane Crumrine of York said. “You leave it out in the heat, it’s going to die.”

ABC27 News searched several parking lots, looking for animals left in cars. Thankfully, we didn’t find any.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had circumstances. We had one pop up over the weekend. The dog was left in the car. The car was sealed up and it gets incredibly hot. The dog died,” Schreiber said.

“If you care about your animals at all, you need to take care of them – or don’t have animals,” Crumrine said.

The legislation also would apply when cats and dogs are left in an extremely cold car. Both bills are awaiting votes in Judiciary committees.

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