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Distressed Animal Legislation

Governor Cuomo signed legislation today that gives animals locked in a hot car a fighting chance for survival.

Posted: Jul 31, 2019 6:27 PM

Existing law permits police to break a car window to rescue a trapped pet, but a new law allows the same rules to apply to EMT’s and firefighters. New Hartford Animal Hospital’s Dr. Abby Regner says it doesn’t take long for any animal left unattended in a car, to encounter health problems in the heat or the cold.

"They are able to deal with that cold a little bit better for a little bit longer, versus the heat, we’re talking just a few minutes can make a big difference."

No one in their right mind would put on a winter jacket and go and sit in a hot car in the middle of summer with the windows up, but that's what it feels like for the animals. 

"As heat stroke sets in, which means that the internal body temperature gets very hot, again organs start to shut down, the blood gets very thick, and it can be life-threatening within just a matter of minutes."

Robin Alford and her dog Cheeto don’t take any chances when they’re out and about.

"It doesn’t take long at all. That’s why I don’t leave him in the car. I take him with me, and I always make sure my friends or somebody in the area gives me some water for him. I love my dog. I don’t know what I’d do without my baby. He’s my best friend."

Paul Scudder is a dog owner and tells us what he thinks most people would do if a dog is suffering.

"First maybe see who’s around. If the people know who the owner… if the owner’s around. Maybe do that first, and let the person know that’s not ok. If you can’t, then I guess just smash the window out and let the dog breath."

Utica Fire Department Assistant Chief James R. Noon says the Utica Fire Department has a special tool that allows them to free an animal without breaking the window, but then what?

"The biggest thing for us would be what to do with the animal when we get them out, but we also have animal control here so." 

Once an animal is freed Animal Control Officers will try to contact the owner, and if they can’t, the animal is taken to the Humane Society. Officers acting in good faith will not be held criminally or civilly liable for reasonable actions.

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