New law takes aim at animal abuse, pets in hot cars

The new law, SSB 5501, makes it a class 2 civil infraction to leave animals unattended in a motor vehicle or enclosed space if the animal could considered endangered by excessive heat or cold, or a lack of water or ventilation.

The penalty for leaving pets in enclosed vehicles just got a lot stiffer thanks to a new bill, sponsored by Sen. David Frockt and recently passed through legislation, aimed at reducing and preventing animal abuse.

The new law, SSB 5501, makes it a class 2 civil infraction to leave animals unattended in a motor vehicle or enclosed space if the animal could considered endangered by excessive heat or cold, or a lack of water or ventilation.

It also authorizes officers, such as police or animal control, to enter a vehicle without a warrant if they perceive the animal to be in life-threatening danger. Though, if the incident has gone that far, the owner could also be fined $125 along with facing felony animal cruelty charges.

Back in May 2015, Bothell Police officers had to break into a Dodge Caravan to rescue two puppies from, what officers perceived to be, serious harm or even the possibility of death. The puppies were re-homed after the incident.

SSB 5501 also included measures to combat animal fighting including more than just dogs or male chickens, the unsafe confinement of animals and compensation for animal theft.

 

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