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Responding to kids and pets in hot cars--what do you do?

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:22 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Pima Animal Care Center is already seeing several calls a day for pets in hot cars. And the fix seems pretty simple--leave them at home.

But what to do if you stumble upon someone who hasn’t?

“We’re already in the triple digits, so it’s definitely in the deadly zone even after a few minutes,” says Nikki Reck with Pima Animal Care Center.

The Arizona heat is unrelenting.

“Time is of the essence and people need to recognize how important that is, particularly in the heat of the desert that we have here,” says Attorney Marc Lamber with Fennemore Craig.

So, what do you do if you come across a dog or child in a hot car? First, call 9-1-1.

“We show up as fast as we can,” says Reck. “It’ll be TPD, PCSD or us and we are there as fast as possible. All of those calls go, again, straight to number one.”

But if you see the human or animal are in imminent danger and feel the need to take action, Lamber has some background.

“Governor Ducey signed a law back in 2017 that allows for a Good Samaritan under certain conditions to rescue the child or the pet and in doing that there is immunity. Civil immunity,” says Lamber.

But there are conditions that must be met for a person to get this “immunity” including making sure the car is not unlocked before shattering a window and not using more force than necessary.

While it is best to let law enforcement handle it, officials acknowledge that will not always be possible.

Whether you decide to break a window or allow an officer to, officials tell us taking pictures and video to document the incident is helpful to them, should an investigation be needed.

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