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New CA law allows people to break into hot cars to save pets

New CA law allows citizens to break into hot cars to help pets without being liable for damage.
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A new California law allows people who see animals in hot vehicles help save them, even if that action includes smashing windows.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that permits people in limited cases to enter locked cars when they see pets who need rescuing from the heat. And they will not be held to a civil liability.

Section one of the AB - 797 Civil Code states: "There shall not be any civil liability on the part of, and no cause of action shall accrue against, a person for property damage or trespass to a motor vehicle, if the damage was caused while the person was rescuing an animal in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 597.7 of the Penal Code."

Assembly Bill 797 was penned in part by Assemblyman Marc Steinorth of Ranch Cucamonga after he saw numerous reports of animals dying from being locked in unattended cars on hot days.

“We’re very excited about the lives this new law will save,” Steinorth said Saturday on Facebook. “Thank you to everyone who helped us raise awareness of this serious issue and showed their support.”

Gov. Brown vetoed an earlier measure that would hold people liable if they caused the death of a service animal or guide dog.

In his veto to that bill he said he feared the law would add to “the scope of the current penal code which already is convoluted and unnecessarily complex.”

“I believe that existing law provides an adequate deterrent and sufficient punishment.”

Under the new law, concerned Californians must call police before breaking into the car.