Bill Would Allow Passersby To Damage Vehicles To Free Kids, Pets From Hot Cars

LOS ANGELES ( — Two state lawmakers from Southern California and animal rights advocates are working to free hot dogs – literally.

Assembly Bill 797 would provide legal immunity for anyone who damages a vehicle “in a good faith effort” to rescue a child or pet from “dangerous conditions while trapped in a hot car.”

Introduced by Assemblyman Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga) and sponsored by the Los Angeles District Attorney and the Humane Society of the United States, “The Right To Rescue Act” would limit civil liability for anyone who identifies a child or pet locked in a car that may be “endangered due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or other circumstances that could reasonably be expected to cause suffering, disability, or death to the minor or animal.”

The corrective action could be taken only after it was determined that the vehicle was locked and authorities had been contacted prior to damaging the vehicle.

Critics say the legislation could invite legal ambiguity and liability questions for cases involving overzealous animal rights advocates or other passersby who may damage property without cause upon seeing children or pets left inside a vehicle.

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