Lawmakers Say ‘Right to Rescue’ Bill Would Save Pets’ Lives

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SACRAMENTO -- We see it often during the summer in Sacramento -- pet owners leaving their dogs in the car.

"They don't realize how quickly the animal can be overcome,” said animal advocate Michele Finerty.

“Temperatures can skyrocket inside a car, a car is constructed of metal,” animal advocate Jennifer Kanady said.

Animal advocates say, on a hot day, cars can heat up above 120 degrees.

This week, state lawmakers released a video testing how long they could handle sitting in a parked car on a hot day.

They did it to support AB 797.

The proposed legislation is being called "right to rescue."

It would allow citizens to break into a hot car if they find a pet locked inside suffering.

Supporters from the Humane Society rallied with lawmakers Tuesday at the Capitol. Elsewhere in Sacramento, reception to the proposed legislation varies.

"I think they should have the right to break into the car for sure,” said dog owner Gretchen Schueller.

"I don’t think it would be necessary to break the person's car window,” said Jivan Feliciano.

One of the bill’s authors, Assemblyman Marc Steinorth says this is not a license to break windows, it’s a way to help save animals.

"This is really a tool so you can save the life of an animal, and we're asking you to use your good judgment when you make that decision," said Steinorth.

Steinorth says under the legislation, a good Samaritan first must check to see if car doors are locked and they must call police before breaking the pet free.

They must also stay with the animal until law enforcement arrives.

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