SACRAMENTO -- Californians will soon be able to rescue dogs trapped in hot cars and not have to worry about the repercussions. Governor Brown signed AB 797, allowing immunity from liability to a person causing vehicle damage in order to rescue an animal.
"People can know they can go and be a good Samaritan and not have to worry about breaking the law, not have to worry about paying the damages to the broken window, not have to worry about vandalism to the car," said Democrat Assembly Member Kevin McCarty, from California's 7th District (Sacramento), who co-authored the bill. "This is one of these bills where I think it passed 78 to two. Everybody kind of said 'Oh yeah this makes sense, why shouldn't there be a law to allow this.'"
Animal control officers have said they believe this bill, which Gov. Brown signed into law on Saturday, will help save many animals lives.
"Considering how many calls we do continue to see ... not here in our city, but across California animals that are dying," said Jace Huggins, the Chief Animal Control Officer for the City of Sacramento.
Having seen many dogs who were rescued, Huggins said the effects on the animals is devastating.
"It's basically like cooking, the animal is just sitting there cooking in the car and you know it's bad. Once their temperature gets to about 106 [degrees], it technically just starts frying the brain cells."
But the new law doesn't come without its limitations.
"AB 797 actually states in the law that you have to have called law enforcement. You have to of made sure the doors aren't unlocked before you just break a window," said Huggins.
Huggins said it's also important to note after the dog is rescued, a citizen can not revoke ownership.
"You can't run away with the dog you know, you can't say 'These are bad owners I'm taking Fido away to a better life.' You're not allowed to do any of that," Huggins told FOX40.
But McCarty believes few will abuse the new law.
"If we can save a pet or two then I'm all for it and I'm glad the governor signed the law," McCarty told FOX40.