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PA Gov. Tom Wolf Signs Hot Car Law

Paws Up!
To Governor Tom Wolf for signing into law the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, which will help keep animals from dying in hot cars.


Last week, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed House Bill 1216, or the Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act, which enables law enforcement officers to enter unattended motor vehicles in the event that a dog or cat is locked inside in sweltering temperatures. Voted in unanimously by the House and Senate, this bill amends existing animal welfare laws by giving law enforcement officers, humane officers, or animal control officers the authority to enter an unattended vehicle if they believe the animal is in imminent danger. The officers are also protected from any liability if damage must be done to the vehicle to get the animal out safely.

After hundreds of dogs and cats have died in hot cars, state lawmakers have been making hot car laws a priority in congress. 28 other states currently have laws that forbid people from leaving animals unattended in a confined vehicle in dangerous conditions or provide civil protections to people who rescue animals from hot cars.

Even on a seemingly cool day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise upwards of twenty degrees every ten minutes if the sun is shining. Since dogs and cats cannot sweat like humans to stay cool, their bodies cannot withstand high temperatures for even short periods of time— a short trip into the grocery store or a quick errand could prove to be deadly for an animal locked in a vehicle. Studies have also shown that keeping a window open does little to change the vehicle’s internal temperature. The best way to keep animals from suffering in hot cars is to never leave them alone in the car in the first place!

Take Action: Take a moment to thank Governor Wolf for signing this bill into law!

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4 responses to “PA Gov. Tom Wolf Signs Hot Car Law”

  1. Claude Leo says:

    Thank you so Very, Very, Much, Gov. Wolf!!! I am so highly grateful. Wondering and concerned, however, why the writing of this law does not protect all animals, and does not enable for any Good Samaritan person to do the same for rescue and protection of animals. As you can well imagine, by the time said law enforcement shows up on the scene, horrific pain, torture, terror, damage, and very possible death of the poor animal is suffered.

    • nhesadmin says:

      Thank you for your comment and your support of animal welfare! You are right- all states should have Good Samaritan laws to protect citizens in the event they must potentially damage property in order to save a suffering animal. Some states do have those laws, and as time goes on, more and more states will follow. Continue to ask your state’s representatives and senators to support legislation that promotes the safety and welfare of animals!

  2. Thank you!!!!! We need to have more laws to protect animals!

  3. Eileen K says:

    Thank you Gov. Wolf for signing this Bill into Law. Although it doesn’t offer Good Samaritan’s protection until the Police show up to rescue, I would surely break the window to get the animal out, if I see the signs of distress, and then take my chances in court. But the owner of the animal will pay much more for his / her defiance and ignorance of breaking the law and inflicting abuse to the animal, than I will. I’m a Guardian to 7 animals, and their health, safety, and welfare always come first before my own.

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