Original article appeared in the Bakersfield Californian (http://www.bakersfield.com/you-can-smash-a-car-window-to-free-a-sweltering/article_c0c106b1-95f0-5f35-801d-a6fda4d8db20.html)
Offering relief to dogs stuck in hot cars, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed legislation letting Californians in limited cases — and without fear of civil liability — smash car windows to set them free.
Assembly Bill 797, by Assemblymen Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, and Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, allows freeing animals from vehicles that are too hot or too cold as long as there is no other way to rescue the animal and law enforcement has first been contacted.
The bill was supported by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal groups. It was opposed by some dog clubs that warned of overzealous liberators.
The bill was one of 52 bills signed by the Democratic governor on Saturday, as he continues to wade through hundreds of bills sent to him by the Legislature in its end-of-session rush.
In one other animal-related measure, Brown, an owner of two dogs, vetoed Assembly Bill 1824, which would have expanded the circumstances in which someone could be charged with causing the injury or death of a guide or service dog. Brown complained in a veto message that the law would add to “the scope of the current penal code which already is convoluted and unnecessarily complex.”
He said, “I believe that existing law provides an adequate deterrent and sufficient punishment.”