Last Thursday, the North Carolina House passed new legislation that would give police officers, rescue workers, and animal-control officers the explicit right to break into a car if a dog is at risk from the heat:
The amended animal shelter bill, which now goes to the state Senate, would allow. . .[rescuers] to enter a vehicle “by any reasonable means” when they suspect an animal is at risk because of heat, cold, inadequate ventilation or other circumstances. It would become law once the governor signs it.
This comes just a week after an astonishing case in nearby Carrboro led to charges being filed against the director of a service-dog program. Deb Cunningham, the program director of Eyes, Ears, Nose and Paws—which trains and places service and medical-alert dogs—astonishingly left a Golden retriever named Worthy locked in her car, with the windows rolled up, on June 10. When Cunningham returned to the car two hours later the poor dog was unresponsive. When Worthy was brought to the vet, his temperature was 109, and he died the next day. Cunningham has been charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty.
The new legislation will mean that rescue workers don’t have to wait for the police to break into a car where a dog is suffering, which ought to increase the number of dogs saved.