According to the CBS-WDTV, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed a new bill Friday allowing law enforcement and first responders to legally break into a locked vehicle if an animal appears to be trapped.
In the Mountain State, it is illegal to leave an animal unattended for an extensively long period of time in harmful weather conditions. However, the passage of this new bill will allow certain individuals to intervene.
“What we are doing with this bill is providing that certain individuals have the ability lawfully to enter into a vehicle where an unattended animal is danger,” said Judiciary Vice-chair Moore Capito (R).
For one local resident, this is great news as she believes pets should be treated no differently than children.
“It’s a no-brainer on this question because dogs and cats require the same care as any child would,” said Tina Bulka, a resident of Harrison County. “So I think if you’re going to pin them up in a car on a hot or cold day it just doesn’t fly. And I think it’s unfortunate that someone would treat their pet like that.”
Once the animal is rescued, a written note will be left in the vehicle explaining how the owner can get their animal back, CBS-WDTV reports. However, violators will be fined and also charged with a misdemeanor.
Fines start at $300, and can be as much as $2,000.