Target: Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus
Goal: Protect people who rescue animals, small children and the disabled from hot cars.
Have you ever seen a dog trapped in an unbearably hot car? If so, you might have been afraid to do much about it. Breaking into the car could land you in civil court, or even expose you to criminal prosecution. The Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) is trying to change that, and has drafted a bill aimed at protecting good Samaritans. Under Texas HB 401, any ordinary member of the public will be allowed to enter a parked car to rescue a trapped animal, small child or anyone with a serious disability.
“A Good Samaritan should not be penalized for coming to the aid of a dog or any animal that is in distressed,” President of the THLN’s Wichita Falls branch Jan Herzog told local news outlet NC6.
According to Herzog, the proposed legislation has numerous checks and balances, including a requirement that a passerby genuinely believe the animal or person is in serious danger before entering the vehicle. It would also allow the passerby to forcibly enter the vehicle, but only after police have already been informed, and only if they don’t cause unnecessary damage.
If HB 401 is passed into law, it’ll be a major victory for animal rights in Texas. However, it needs as much public support as it can get.
If you agree that Texas needs legislation to protect good Samaritans who save animals and people trapped in hot cars, sign this petition.
Dear Speaker Straus,
We urge you to endorse a piece of proposed legislation aimed at giving Texans the right to enter a private vehicle to save the life of a trapped animal or person. The bill, HB 401, would even allow limited force to be used to enter a vehicle, if the passerby believes an animal or person inside is in imminent danger. This legislation could save the lives of countless pets left in hot cars every summer across Texas. It’ll also apply to small children, and Texans with serious disabilities who might be unable to escape a locked car on their own.
Along with saving lives, HB 401 has the potential to make Texas a trailblazer for animal rights. No animal should die an excruciating death simply because a pet owner leaves them in a hot vehicle. Please support this proposed legislation, and urge your fellow lawmakers to do the same.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Lucian Venutian