In a welcome victory for animal welfare in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed new legislation to enable firefighters and emergency medical responders to rescue animals left alone in vehicles under extreme temperatures that could harm their health.

The new bill – which was signed on July 31 and is effective immediately – extends the number of responders legally authorized to extract an animal confined in a vehicle in a bid to reduce the time between a 911 call being made and an animal’s removal from danger. This will help save the lives of more pets abandoned in extremely hot or cold conditions when there is limited availability of law enforcement or animal control officers to get to the scene.

“Leaving a pet in a stifling hot or freezing cold car is inhumane and potentially dangerous, and emergency responders should have the ability to remove them if necessary,” commented Cuomo. “As a dog owner myself, I am proud to sign this measure into law to help ensure the safety and wellbeing of animals.”

“By authorizing emergency medical service personnel and firefighters to remove animals from cars in extreme heat or cold situations, we reduce wait times saving critical minutes and the lives of innocent animals,” added Senator Kenneth LaValle. “In areas with limited police resources, this new law becomes even more important as it expands the number of emergency personnel who can respond to a desperate situation where a helpless animal is in imminent danger and the owner cannot be located. Too often we hear stories about an animal who has died due to the reckless behavior of its owner. This measure will offer greater protections to our precious pets and penalize those who put them in harm’s way.”

This is a great step forward in the care of animals and acts as a reminder that it is not acceptable to leave a pet alone in a car as temperatures in the interior of a vehicle can rise or fall extremely rapidly.