Arizona Bill Aimed at Ending Hot-Car Deaths Passes!

What a Cool Day to be an Arizona Pet!

Governor Doug Ducey has signed into law HB2494, a bill that aims to end hot-car deaths and allow Good Samaritans to take action without risk of civil liability if they rescue a child or a pet from a hot car.

The bill was sponsored by Senator John Kavanagh, a longtime animal-welfare advocate who drafted the legislation with the support of the Humane Legislative Coalition of Arizona – a group that includes the Animal Defense League of Arizona, the Arizona Humane Society, Humane Society of Southern Arizona and Humane Voters of Arizona. The Humane Society of the United States and local advocates are also in support of the legislation.

HB2494 Provisions

A person who uses reasonable force to remove a child or domestic animal from a locked motor vehicle is not liable for damages in a civil action if they comply with the following conditions:

  1. The rescuer has a good faith belief that the confined child or pet is in imminent danger of suffering physical injury or death unless they are removed from the vehicle.
  2. The rescuer determines the car is locked or there is no reasonable manner in which the person can remove the child or pet.
  3. Before entering the vehicle, the rescuer notifies the proper authorities (defined).
  4. The rescuer does not use more force than is necessary under the circumstances to enter the vehicle.
  5. The rescuer remains with the child or pet until the authorities arrive.

Click here for more details on the bill.

“Every year, local police and our Emergency Animal Medical Technicians™ respond to dozens of calls of children and pets left in hot cars,” said Dr. Steven Hansen, CEO of the Arizona Humane Society. “This law allows us to be able to direct the caller to take action, immediately, without exposing the Good Samaritan to liability for breaking a window and potentially saving a life.”

Calls about children and animals in distress begin long before Arizona’s infamous summer sets in. In fact, exactly one year ago, a two-year-old Shih-Tzu was seized by Phoenix Police after being left in a hot car. Although it was only April, the day’s temperature had reached 97 degrees and when Aurra arrived at AHS’ Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital™, she was dehydrated, dirty and panicked. Aurra was so shaken from her ordeal that it took weeks of one-on-one training with AHS’ behavior team to help her learn to trust again. Fortunately, she didn’t have any lasting physical effects from her ordeal and was adopted into a loving family who promises to never leave her in a car again.

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