spcaLA Commends Signing of Bill Decriminalizing Saving Pet from Hot Cars

Los Angeles, CA — Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) commends Governor Jerry Brown’s signing Bill AB 797, or the Right to Rescue Act. The bill protects citizens from criminal and civil penalties when they act to free a pet in immediate danger from a locked vehicle. Prior to this bill, only police officers, humane officers or animal control officers were allowed to free an animal a locked vehicle.

“It is shocking to me that people continue to leave pets and children in cars,” said Madeline Bernstein, spcaLA President. “We all know temperatures quickly rise to dangerous levels in locked cars on a warm day, but every year, tragedy occurs. I applaud Governor Brown, Assemblymen Marc Steinorth and Miguel Santiago for giving citizens this life saving tool.”

In accordance with Bill AB797, a person must contact law enforcement first. If the animal is in imminent danger and law enforcement cannot respond in time, then they can proceed in freeing the animal. Once the animal is freed, the rescuer must hand the dog over to law enforcement or animal control.

Every year, spcaLA distributes thousands of flyers a year warning of the dangers of leaving pets in a locked vehicle. “Our flyers will be updated with the new law and we will continue to educate the community as spcaLA has done since 1877, the year we were founded” said Bernstein.