New ‘Hot Dog’ Bill Aims to Protect Good Citizens Helping Pets

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Texas State Representative Celia Israel of Austin is pushing for an addition to current legislation that will help concerned citizens who find a pet locked in a hot car. House Bill 810, nicknamed the “hot dog” bill will eliminate the civil liability for people who damage a vehicle (i.e. break a window) while saving a trapped pet inside. This bill will be an addition to House Bill 478, passed during the 85th legislature, that “protects people who break into vehicles to save ‘vulnerable individuals,’ (namely, elderly or children).”

The Bill Makes it Easier to Help Pets in Distress

broken window

Photo: Flickr/Jim Hickcox

Currently, people aren’t held liable for damages to vehicles in the long term, in cases involving the rescue of trapped animals, but not before accruing legal fees during the process. House Bill 810 will allow concerned citizens to helps animals in need without worrying about legal action. However, the bill does have a stipulation: according to Representative Israel, under the new bill, people who break into a vehicle to save an animal in need must notify police immediately and wait until the police arrive to conduct an investigation.

Highest Rate of Vehicular Heat Stroke Death

hot dog bill

Photo: Flickr/Bennilover

The new bill is important legislation for Texas as our state “has the highest rate of vehicular heat stroke death in the United States–claiming the lives of 107 children from 1998 through 2016,” according to the Houston Chronicle. While the death of pets due to heat stroke isn’t documented, it’s safe to say that many pets perish in hot cars in Texas every year.

When in Doubt, Leave Fido at Home


Photo: Flickr/Thomas Hawk

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation reminds us that the temperature inside your car can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, and the longer the car sits, the higher the internal temperature goes. It doesn’t have to be the middle of the summer in Texas for a car to become dangerous for a pet. Even on a pleasant, 70-degree day, your vehicle’s internal temperature could reach well over 100 degrees inside.

The AVMF also found that cracking the windows in the car did little to make the internal temperatures cooler. For that reason, experts recommend leaving your pet at home if you have errands to run. While it might seem like a good idea to bring Fido along for the ride, he’ll be much happier and safer (not to mention cooler) at home.