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City of Steamboat Springs NEWS

Posted on: August 9, 2017

New Animal Hot Car Law Takes Effect August 9 In Colorado

A new state law, which Governor Hickenlooper signed in April, takes effect today, August 9, 2017, providing immunity from civil and criminal liability for a person who forcibly enters a locked vehicle for the purpose rendering assistance to an at-risk person or animal. 

Each summer, dogs sustain harm and even death being left in a vehicle on a hot day. According to the ASPCA, even if the temperature outside is only 70 degrees, the inside of a car may be as much as 20 degree hotter.  At 85 degrees, it only take minutes for the inside of the car to reach 102 degrees.  Within 30 minutes, the interior can climb from 85 to 120 degrees. These high temperatures can be dangerous to animals causing heatstroke, brain damage or severe or fatal injuries.  

Before acting, the new law requires the following of the person before forcibly entering the vehicle:
  • Must have a reasonable belief that the at-risk person or animal is in imminent danger of death or suffering serious bodily injury;
  • Ensure the vehicle is not a law enforcement vehicle;
  • Verify the vehicle is locked;
  • Make a reasonable effort to find the owner of the vehicle;
  • Must make a call to emergency services prior to forcibly entering the vehicle; and not interfere with the actions of any responding law enforcement agency;
  • Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the locked vehicle; and,
  • The person must remain on scene or notify emergency services where they have taken the at-risk person or animal and must leave contact information at the scene.
Steamboat Springs Animal Control can be reached at 970-870-1144 to report an animal emergency or complaint.  The entire Colorado law can be viewed online

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Contact:
Annette Dopplick, Police Commander, 970-879-4344, adopplick@steamboatsprings.net
Cory Christensen, Chief of Police, 970-879-4344, cchristensen@steamboatsprings.net
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