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Washington Animal Cruelty Law Could Be Enhanced To Cover Pets in Hot Cars

Lynn Friedman
Flickr -
File photo. Police and animal control officers in Washington may soon get explicit license to break into cars to rescue animals in distress.

When temperatures rise this spring, you're bound to hear the occasional sad tale of a dog locked in a hot car in the sun.

The Washington state Senate voted unanimously Friday to clarify that police and animal control officers can break into cars to rescue panting pets.

"This bill will give additional abilities for first responders to be able to rescue an animal in distress that might be in a hot car on a hot summer day and prevent some of the liability issues that prevented them from taking immediate action,” said Republican state Senator Joe Fain, the bill’s chief sponsor.

The Senate measure also would allow the authorities to issue the pet owner a $125 fine for leaving an unattended animal in a car where it might be harmed by heat, cold or lack of ventilation.

The measure now goes on to the Washington House for further consideration.

Now retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.