A few weeks ago we talked about hot dogs…no, I don’t mean the ones you threw on the grill at the summer BBQ. We’re talking about dogs that are trapped in hot cars. This summer there seemed to be a surge of pets involved in hot car injuries and death. Incidents such as one this past June, where firefighters rescued a dog from a car that was 160º helped make a big change in rescuing pets from hot cars.

Governor Jerry Brown just made it official, you can now rescue a pet trapped in a hot car. The Right to Rescue law protects citizens from prosecution when saving an animal. Made official September 24, 2016, California’s Assembly Bill No, 979 will save lives.

But, before you start smashing windows, let’s review some important steps.

Step to Take:

  • Alert the nearby businesses: First you have to try and find the owner. Take down the make and model of the vehicle. If you can, have someone else go to the business in the parking lot to have the owner paged. That way you can stay with the pet in the car to make sure they are okay.
  • Notify the Police: If you can’t locate the owner and the pet is increasingly distressed, notify the authorities. Let them know the situation and your location.
  • Take action if necessary: If help isn’t showing up and the animal is in extreme danger, you can break into the vehicle to free them. If you must smash a window, choose a small one that is far away from the pet. If the pet is suffering from heat stroke, take them into the closest air-conditioned store. Follow these steps for cooling them down.
  • Stay until they arrived: Once you’ve freed the animal, you have to stay until the police arrive. They will be able to get the pet to safety if the owners haven’t arrived yet. If you leave a note on the car if you have to take the pet into a store. Chances are if you are smashing windows to save a pet, people will be around to assist. Have someone stay with the car while the pet is tended to inside if you can.

Being able to save a pet without having to wait for authorities is a major breakthrough for California. Next time you see a pet in a hot car, know that there is something you can do to help rescue them.

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