HB 612: Allows rescue workers to remove animals from hot cars - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

HB 612: Allows rescue workers to remove animals from hot cars

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

An amendment to an animal shelter bill passed in the House Thursday that would allow rescue workers to remove animals from hot cars.

House Bill 612 states "any animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator appointed under G.S. 19A-45, law enforcement officer, firefighter, or rescue squad worker who has probable cause to believe that this section is being violated may enter a motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible for the animal."

Some local ordinances allow for the provision already but the new bill, if passed in the Senate and signed into law by the Governor, would make it legal statewide.

"[An] 80 degree day and we're saying in the Carolinas and we have high humidity here..15, 20 minutes is all I would think it would take for heat exhaustion, dehydration, distress [to set in]," Dr. William Pressly with Pressly Animal Hospital said.

Pressly says his Matthews practice alone see about a dozen heat related cases each summer.

"Their body will shut down..lungs and hearts and they're gone very quickly," Pressly said.

WBTV rode along with Animal Care and Control in July 2012 and it took no time for a call to come in which two dogs were left in a hot truck - one inside the cab, one in the bed with no shade. The owner said he checked on the animals twice during the time he was inside a local Ikea store.

"The last thing you want to do is come out and your dog is in distress and you have to realize you are the cause of the death of your pet," Pressly said.

"Most of the people who wind up leaving their dogs in hot cars are not doing it maliciously...sometimes it's just thoughtless and no one needs to lose a beloved family member because of one thoughtless act and if this legislation makes it easier to keep legislation from happening, then a broken car window is a small price to pay ," VP of Greater Charlotte SPCA Fara Robinson said.

If an animal is seriously injured or dies as a result of a person's negligence, they would face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge.

If the bill passes both the house and senate and signed into law by the Governor, it would become effective December 1.

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