Dogs in Hot Cars (New Jersey)
Protecting Good Samaritans Who Rescue Dogs in Hot Cars (S.1175/A.4540)
Provides civil and criminal immunity to people who in good faith rescue an animal from a motor vehicle under dangerous conditions.
Every summer, as temperatures rise, so does the danger of companion animals dying because they are left in a hot car. In New Jersey, while it is a crime to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle under inhumane conditions, no one is statutorily authorized to enter the vehicle to rescue the trapped animal – not even law enforcement.
A.4540/S1175 provides civil and criminal immunity to persons who in good faith enter a motor vehicle to rescue an animal if the person reasonably believes that the animal is in immediate danger.
S.1175 and A.4540 would provide civil and criminal immunity to people who in good faith rescue an animal from a motor vehicle under dangerous conditions. S.117 is sponsored by Senator Nilsa I. Cruz-Perez (D-5), Senator Dawn Marie Addiego (D-8), and Senator Troy Singleton (D-7). A.4540 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Valerie Vaineiri Huttle (D-37), Assemblywoman Carol A. Murphy (D-7), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-33), Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20), and Assemblyman Daniel R. Benson (D-14).
As of 2019, 31 states and the District of Columbia have some kind of “hot car” law. Fourteen states have “Good Samaritan” laws which grant civil immunity for civilians rescuing an animal from an unattended vehicle under certain circumstances – such as contacting law enforcement before entering the car. Fifteen states provide immunity only for law enforcement, first responders, or animal control officers who enter a vehicle to rescue an animal. S.1175 would strengthen protections for animals in New Jersey by ensuring people can intervene quickly to save animals in danger.