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UPDATE: California Law Passed To Protect Good Samaritans Who Rescue Dogs From Hot Cars

| Published on May 26, 2016

UPDATE: We reported about the “Hot Dog Bill” being proposed in May. On Saturday, September 24th, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill to become a law, according to abc 7. Let’s hope more states follow suit!



Back in March, the state of Florida passed a law allowing good Samaritans to break into hot cars to save the lives of dogs in distress.

Florida is one of a few states to pass such a law after it was pioneered by the state of Tennessee in July 2015.

Now, with the proposal of a bill, California might be another. Dubbed the “Hot Dog Bill,” Fox news reports that the law “would provide immunity from civil liability to a person who rescues an animal from a locked car, even if that rescue entails breaking a window or otherwise damaging the vehicle.”

Of course, concerned citizens can’t just go around smashing the windows of parked cars containing dogs. The bill includes a series of steps to be followed in order to legally protect the rescuer:

  • Make sure the vehicle is actually locked

  • Check for other non-invasive points of entry

  • First call a law enforcement agency, including the police, animal control, fire department, or 911 emergency service

  • Stay with the animal until an officer arrives

(Here are a few more tips: know the signs of heat stroke in dogs and how to take immediate action. Also, it’s a good idea to have a witness and recording the rescue on your phone for evidence.)

There are 18 states that hold dog owners legally responsible for keeping dogs in cars under dangerous circumstances including excessive heat and cold. The state of Michigan even recently proposed a law that would make putting dogs in such circumstances a felony. However, these laws do not make concerned citizens immune to damages incurred if the dog must be rescued.

Watch these newscasters take the “hot car challenge” :

(h/t: Fox news)

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