PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — New legislation signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Tom Wolf is strengthening protections for animals across the state.
Gov. Wolf has signed the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, or House Bill 1216.
The new law allows law enforcement officers to enter vehicles or property in situations where pets are believed to be suffering or getting inadequate care in extreme temperatures.
It's been one year since the passage of #LibresLaw and PA's first significant strengthening of animal protection laws in 30 years.
Proud that this new law, which will help save animals trapped in cars, will build on that progress. Thank you to all who made this possible. https://t.co/LLbs4ExquT
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) October 24, 2018
The governor’s office says the law will raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in parked vehicles, and give police officers the power to make decisions on animal welfare. They add:
- Allowing a police office, humane officer, animal control officer or other public safety professionals to remove a dog or cat from an unattended motor vehicle if they believe the dog or cat is in imminent danger or harm after a reasonable search for the operator of the vehicle
- Protecting a police officer, humane officer, or public safety professional who removes a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle from liability for any damages.
- Requiring that an officer who removes a dog or cat from an unattended vehicle must leave a conspicuous note for the owner stating the officer’s information and the information for where to pick up the pet.
- Updating the definition of neglect, prohibiting the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well-being of the animal.
The new law is the second act signed into law recently that increases protections for animals throughout the state.
Last year, Gov. Wolf signed Libre’s Law.
Gov. Wolf said, in a press release: “A few months ago, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the first significant strengthening of Pennsylvania’s animal protection statutes in nearly 30 years with the enactment of Act 10 of 2017, which included Libre’s Law. Today, I am proud to sign this bill and build on the progress we have made for animals in the commonwealth. Thank you to the advocates and legislators who made this possible.”
Libre’s Law is named after the Boston Terrier who was abused and became an animal rights representative for the state.
The law makes it easier to prosecute people who knowingly abuse or neglect animals. It adds horses and other animals to the list of those where abusers can be prosecuted.