PORT ORANGE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A Florida lawmaker from Port Orange has filed a bill which would allow "authorized individuals" to be able to gain access and remove an animal from a locked vehicle, if it is determined that the animal is in danger and the owner cannot be located. The authorized individual would not be held criminally or civilly liable for the actions they took to rescue the endangered animal.
Senator Dorothy L. Hukill, R-Port Orange, says Senate Bill 200, known as the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act, or "P.A.W.S." Act, would also provide consequences for individuals who leave their animals in motor vehicles without regard for the animals' well-being or safety.
"Pets are extremely vulnerable to heat related injury or death if left in a vehicle, especially on a hot day," said Senator Hukill, "Individuals who risk their pets' lives by leaving them in hot cars need to be held accountable."
Two women in the Daytona area recently left their dogs in the car while they went shopping at a mall (images of the incident can been seen in the photo gallery above). The dogs were so thirsty they were licking the condensation off a soda can in the car, and when let out of the vehicle by police they found the closest puddle of water and began drinking it. The women had left the dogs in the vehicle for at least an hour in 95°F weather.
Animals left in vehicles on hot days or without proper ventilation can easily suffer heatstroke and even death.