Pa. House votes to help children, pets left alone in hot cars

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Children, dogs, and cats left unattended in hot cars would get new protections under two bills headed to the state Senate.

The House of Representatives unanimously approved both proposals on Friday.

House Bill 1152 says people aren’t liable for damage when they force their way into a car to rescue someone. The immunity would only apply when the person has a “good-faith, reasonable belief” that the person is in imminent danger of harm and cannot get out on their own.

The rescuer would have to make a reasonable effort to find the driver, and they would have to call or attempt to call police, firefighters, or emergency responders. They could use no more force than is necessary, and they would have to stay with the person until police or emergency responders arrive.

House Bill 1216 would prohibit the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended car if it endangers the animal’s health.

Police officers, humane officers, and other public safety professionals would have the authority to remove the dog or cat if they believe the animal is suffering and endangered after a reasonable search for the driver.

The officer who removes the animal could not be held liable for any damages.

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