California Legislators Propose “Hot Dog” Bill
spcaLA Responds in Favor

Los Angeles, CA – Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) supports AB 797, “The Right to Rescue Act” otherwise known as the “Hot Dog Bill” which would legally allow people to rescue a dog left in a hot vehicle, even if it means smashing the car window.

“spcaLA educates the community every summer about leaving animals and children in hot cars, and yet people still flout the law and continue to do it. The result could be death,” said Madeline Bernstein, spcaLA President. “This law expands the power of good citizens who only want to protect the voiceless among us.”

It is against the law (Penal Code § 597.7) for a person to “leave or confine an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the animal.”  The bill in its current form states that a person who liberates an animal would not be liable when “acting in good faith.”

Prior to forcible entry, a person acting in good faith would do the following:

  • Determine that the care is locked and there is no reasonable way to free the animal
  • Feel the animal is in imminent danger
  • Contact local law enforcement (Fire Department, Animal Control, 911)
  • Use no more force than is necessary to enter

Further, to act in good faith, the rescuer would also remain with the animal in a safe location, and turn the animal over to a representative from law enforcement, animal control, or another emergency responder who responds to the scene.

spcaLA’s flyer advising against leaving dogs in hot cars “not even for a few minutes” is one its most popular.  “People like to pick up a handful and share them,” said Bernstein.  “On a hot day, the temperature inside a parked car can soar up to 160 degrees, even in the shade. This temperature is hot enough to cause heat stroke and permanent brain damage in children or pets.”

AB 797 is supported by the State Humane Association of California (SHAC). spcaLA President, Madeline Bernstein is also President of the Board of Directors of SHAC.