Bill would let firefighters break into hot cars to help pets

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NEW YORK -

A new bill aims to help pets that find themselves locked inside cars in extremely hot weather.

On a regular summer day, firefighters say the temperature inside of a car can in minutes become too hot for humans or pets to survive. But each year, people still leave pets in hot cars, and many of the creatures don't survive.

"In a matter of minutes it becomes an oven," says Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross.

Current law allows only police officers and peace officers to break into cars if they see a pet locked inside on an extremely hot or cold day. But new legislation just passed by the state Assembly would extend the ability to firefighters as well.

"Right now, because of the limited liabilities that we have, we would have to call for a police officer to respond to the scene and assist the fire department, and they would have to make a forced entry into the vehicle," explains Michael Krummenacker, director of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. "What could happen in that timeframe? Your pet could expire."

The measure is now waiting to be considered in the state Senate.

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