NC Legislature Working To Protect Animals In Hot Cars

5:36 PM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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Undated -- These days, many people take their animals with them on the road. But just as we've said hot cars are no place for kids, they're also no place for dogs either.

Just last month in Carrboro, police say Debra Cunningham, the director of an animal training organization, left "Worthy," a Golden Retriever, in a car for two hours while she worked. Worthy died of heat stroke the next day. Cunningham will be charged with animal cruelty. 

In the last week, the North Carolina legislature ratified an amendment to help animals in hot cars. The amendment to Senate Bill 626 says any animal control or law enforcement officer who thinks an animal is in danger can enter the vehicle after trying to find the owner. 

Once Governor McCrory signs it, it takes effect immediately. Guilford County representative Pricey Harrison co-sponsored the amendment. 

In an interview conducted via Facetime, she said, "I did some research on this and it was startling to me how quickly a car can heat up and how much more succeptiple to hot cars animals are. It's as if its 20 degrees hotter in a hot car to them and a car can heat up even on an overcast day, and even on a sunny day in December."

She said, "I was surprised that we did not have a state law that allows for the rescue of animals left in hot cars. 14 other states do." She said veterinarians raised the issue to her after seeing several cats and dogs that've been kept in hot cars on a weekly basis.

The amendment really applies to any animal you can think of, except livestock -- like horses, cattle, sheep, swine, or poultry.

But she made sure to point out that it does not mean ordinary citizens can be vigilante animal rescuers. Harrison said if you see an animal in a hot car, you should still call 911.

Cracking the windows doesn't help! Experts suggest if you can't take your dog into your destination, it's best to leave them at home. 

For more information on the impact of dogs in hot cars, click the links below:

Stanford University Research

Animal Law

New Scientist

Ask a Vet Question

PETA

Humane Society

SPCA

WFMY News 2

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