Editorial: Senate OKs timely animal welfare measures


Published: 7/18/2016 11:13:17 PM

One group of Scottish musicians felt so strongly about this problem that members put it in their band’s name: Dogs Die in Hot Cars. This month, the state Senate gave unanimous approval to a law that would let people do something about it.

The body voted to allow people who see any type of animal suffering in an enclosed vehicle the right to break a window – as a last resort – to effect a rescue. The measure is not yet law. Whether it comes in time for the dog days of summer depends on action in the House before the legislative session ends this month. In Vermont, lawmakers just passed a similar measure.

In Massachusetts, the law would require that people first try to open a vehicle’s doors, then look for a police officer and call 911. But if help doesn’t arrive quickly, they can break in and free the animal. After than, they must remain with the animal until a public safety official arrives, a measure that encourages responsible choices by would-be rescuers. 

Almost daily during summer, police radio channels in the Valley crackle with citizens’ reports of animals trapped in hot cars. A study at San Francisco State University found that if it is 85 degrees outside, the temperature inside a closed car will reach 104 degrees in 10 minutes and 119 degrees in 30 minutes.

The rescue measure was one of several animal welfare measures the state Senate approved this month. Lawmakers also OK’d a bill that bans the sale of kittens and puppies under 8 weeks old, bars pet shops from selling animals from unlicensed breeders and requires property owners to search newly vacated premises for abandoned animals within three days. We should treat the animals around us with decency. These measures would help ensure that.


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