New Law Lets Citizens Rescue Animals from Hot Cars

Californians will not face criminal or civil charges for rescuing animals from imminent danger.


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California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 797 into law over the weekend. Under AB 797, a concerned citizen may take action to remove an animal in distress from a hot car as long as that individual first makes an attempt to contact a local law enforcement agency. The law—which is approved by The Humane Society of the United States and supported by the District Attorney’s office of Los Angeles—provides immunity from criminal and civil charges to citizens who rescue an animal from imminent danger. While it is assumed that AB 797 applies to common companion animals such as cats and dogs, it does not specify the species that fall under its protections. Currently, animal activist Anita Krajnc is facing criminal charges for giving water to pigs trapped in a metal truck on their way to slaughter in Canada. If Canada were to enact a law similar to AB 797, conceivably it could be applied to protect Krajnc’s efforts to help the animals.

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