PITTSBURGH —With temperatures reaching the mid-90s on Monday, pet owners need to take extra precautions to keep their four-legged friends safe in the extreme heat.Highland Park was a busy place for dog owners Monday morning. John DeFranco and his dog Buster were taking a walk before the heat takes over later in the day.Advertisement”(When he gets overheated, it) feels like he’s going to have a heart attack but he don’t realize,” DeFranco said about Buster. “He just wants to keep going, so I just try to get his exercise in early.”Temperatures in the 90s can mean big trouble for your pets. Limiting their time outside on such days is vital, and so is keeping them out of cars.”An animal in a car — even when it’s 80 degrees outside, that car can hit 100 within minutes,” said Dan Rossi, CEO of Humane Animal Rescue. “Animals will start to shut down in heat like that. They can actually have brain damage or die in situations like that.”Lawmakers are stepping in to protect our four-legged friends. Legislation that’s been in the works for five years, aimed at the rights first responders have when rescuing animals from hot vehicles, has recently passed the House.”This is something 25 others states have passed and it’s modeled on that,” said Rossi. “It’s also modeled on the same bill in the city of Pittsburgh, so it’s a great bill that will really help save the lives of dogs and cats.”The House bill spells out what first responders must do legally to break into vehicles to rescue cats and dogs. It provides immunity from liability if certain rules are followed.
For example, a first responder must make a reasonable attempt to find the owner before breaking into the vehicle, and once the animal has been rescued, the first responder must leave a note saying where the animal has been taken.The hope is that, by making rescuers immune from having to pay for damages, pet owners will think twice before leaving their pets in a hot car.”Most people that have their pets in their cars — they love their animals. They’re not purposely trying to put that animal at risk,” said Rossi. “They might run in and get their dry cleaning and get delayed and that often happens. They’re not thinking. We want animals to be safe. If people can just think. Especially on hot days like this, just don’t take your animals out with you.”John DeFranco said it isn’t worth the risk for Buster.”You wouldn’t leave your baby in the car, would you? That’s my baby,” he said.The bill also states how long a dog can be tied up outside in extreme temperatures. It calls for no more than 30 minutes when it’s above 90 degrees.The leash must be a certain length and there must be water and shelter available to the dog.
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