Bend Senator Tim Knopp, along with fellow Senator Peter Courtney of Salem, have introduced and are shepherding a bill through the lawmaking process that, when passed and signed by Governor Brown, will empower all Oregon law enforcement officers to intervene when they spot a dog in a hot car or in any other confined space that is hot enough to bake a little life to death. Senate Bill 614 gives officers the authority to forcibly retrieve the animal, and if necessary, take it to a veterinarian for treatment. And then to a shelter.
Senate Bill 614 calls for every effort to contact the owner via vehicle registration and then certified mail detailing where their animal is.
Under current law, an animal must be unconscious or in obvious near-death condition before intervention is allowed. Senate Bill 614 allows an officer to cause the minimum amount of damage required to retrieve the animal and to prevent it from succumbing to a hyperthermal death spiral.
Senate Bill 614 went through a public hearing yesterday in the Senate. It’s awaiting further review before being sent to the House for their evaluation.
Testifying before a senate committee, Dr. Steven Armsberry, President of the Oregon Veterinarians Association said that hundreds of dogs die every year from heat exhaustion. Even when parked with the windows cracked or slightly open temperatures in in cars can rise 20 degrees in ten minutes and 30 degrees in 20 minutes. A dog in a car with an outside temperature of 72 degrees can heat up to 105 degrees in thirty minutes. And again, cracking a window helps very little.