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New Jersey: Eliminate the Danger of Heatstroke and Death for Animals in Hot Cars

New Jersey: Eliminate the Danger of Heatstroke and Death for Animals in Hot Cars

Name: Removal of animals from hot cars

Bill Number: A 1517/S 1174 

Dog in CarEvery summer, owners who carelessly leave their dogs unattended in cars endanger their companion animals’ lives when temperatures rise. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, parked cars easily trap the sun’s heat. The temperature inside a car can rise up to 114 degrees in just ten minutes—even if windows are left open. In these brutal conditions, dogs and cats are left vulnerable to heatstroke or death.  New Jersey already has a criminal law that penalizes individuals who leave animals unattended in hot cars, but it does not have any provision for animal rescue.

A 1517 would exempt any emergency personnel from liability for breaking into a motor vehicle in order to rescue the animal from serious injury or loss of life. The individual must reasonably believe that the animal has been left in conditions that pose an immediate threat to the health of the animal.

S 1175 would provide that any person may in good faith enter the vehicle in order to remove, or render emergency care to, the animal if the person reasonably believes that the animal is in immediate danger of bodily injury or death from the circumstances. The individual rescuer would be immune from civil and criminal liability if, prior to entering the motor vehicle, the rescuer contacts the appropriate rescue personnel to report the circumstances and makes a reasonable attempt to locate the owner or operator of the motor vehicle or other person responsible for the animal.

Each of these bills would better protect animals and the individuals seeking to rescue them. It would also provide safeguards for car owners against wrongdoers who attempt to use so-called “Good Samaritan” laws to maliciously damage vehicles or steal companion animals.

Please ask your state legislators to help these bills to move forward.

Call to Actions:

  1. Please contact your state Assemblyperson and Senator and urge them to support this legislation.
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Recipients

  • Your State Senator or Senators
  • Your State Representative or Representatives

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Message

Please support A 1517 and S 1175 to protect pets left in vehicles in extreme weather

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to ask you to support legislation that will protect the health and safety of companion animals. Each year, hundreds of companion animals lose their lives when their owners leave them unattended in motor vehicles under dangerous conditions such as extreme heat, extreme cold or without proper ventilation.

Although New Jersey has a law that prohibits owners from leaving their companion animals unattended in motor vehicles under inhumane conditions, this law does not relieve first responders or other individuals from liability for breaking into a vehicle to rescue these animals from serious injury or loss of life. If enacted, A 1517 and S 1175 would close this loophole by providing both a rescue and an immunity provision.

A 1517 would exempt any emergency personnel from liability for breaking into a motor vehicle in order to rescue an animal from serious injury or loss of life. The individual must reasonably believe that the animal has been left in conditions that pose an immediate threat to the health of the animal.

S 1175 would allow any person to enter a vehicle in good faith in order to remove, or render emergency care to, an animal if the person reasonably believes that the animal is in immediate danger of bodily injury or death from the circumstances. The individual rescuer would be immune from civil and criminal liability provided that--prior to entering the motor vehicle--they contact the appropriate rescue personnel to report the circumstances and make a reasonable attempt to locate the owner or operator of the motor vehicle or other person responsible for the animal.

New Jersey is one of only two states that criminalize the act of leaving a pet unattended under dangerous conditions without providing a blanket rescue and immunity provision. I hope that you will give your full support to the passage of A 1517 and S 1175, which will not only help New Jersey protect vulnerable animals, but will also protect individuals attempting to save the lives of these animals.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]