New Pa. law allows authorities to break into cars to save dogs, cats

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH — A new law allows authorities to break into vehicles to rescue dogs or cats believed to be in danger.

Act 104 of 2018 went into effect last week after it was approved by Gov. Tom Wolf on Oct. 24.

The law applies to law enforcement officers, animal control officers, humane society police officers or emergency responders, and their employers.

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Under the law, authorities are not liable for damage to a vehicle or its contents when entering for the purpose of removing a dog or cat if they have “a good-faith, reasonable belief that the dog or cat is in imminent danger of suffering harm if not immediately removed from the motor vehicle.”

Authorities also must make a “reasonable effort” to find the vehicle’s driver before making entry, take steps to “ensure or restore the well-being of the dog or cat” and use “no more force than necessary under the circumstances.”

In addition, authorities are required to leave notice on or in the vehicle “stating the reason entry was made, the name of the person and of the person's employer, a telephone number and, if possible, the location where the dog or cat may be retrieved.”