Bill would remove liability from good Samaritans who rescue pets, kids from hot cars

Bill protects people rescuing pets from hot cars

AUSTIN - In Texas,  things can heat up pretty quickly. 

The calendar doesn't have to say June 20 for it to begin to feel like the summer season. 

House Bill 401 is making its way through the current legislature is focused on protecting pets left in hot cars. If made law, good samaritans wouldn't face criminal charges or be held liable for breaking into a vehicle to save an animal in danger. 

Jeff Pierce, legislative counsel for the Animal Defense Fund, a group that advocates for animal rights, said the bill covers dogs, cats, but also other animals who are considered pets. Though, it exempts livestock.

“Lawmakers in Texas through this bill would recognize that animals trapped in cars are very much like other vulnerable individuals and they cannot speak or act for themselves,” Pierce said.

The bill would also require that a person must notify law enforcement before removing the pet and stay in a nearby location until law enforcement arrives. 

Texas does not have any statutes that currently make leaving a pet in a parked car or truck illegal. However, that does not mean individuals who do so will not face charges.

House Bill 401 also protects children left in hot cars. Under current law, it is a Class C misdemeanor to leave a child under the age of 7 unattended in a car for more than five minutes. Plus, the same rules apply. The bill would also require that a person must also notify law enforcement before removing the child and stay in a nearby location until law enforcement arrives. 

For more information on the bill, go here.

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