Now that Spring has finally arrived and the weather is starting to warm up, you're probably planning more picnics, hikes, and other outdoor activities, which of course wouldn't be nearly as much fun if your beloved pet dog didn't accompany you. If you do take Fido along, however, there are a couple of new laws you should be aware of. One is a law designed to stiffen the penalties for pet owners who leave their animals in cars parked in the sun (Cal. Penal Code 597.7), and the other makes it illegal to tie a dog to a stationary object for more than three hours (Cal. Health & Safety Code 122335). Depending on the specific offense, violation of the new dog-tethering law could result in an infraction or misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 per dog and up to six months in county jail. There are some exceptions to the law, which allows for dogs to be tied to a pulley system; tethering to allow owners to complete temporary tasks; or tethering on farms if it's necessary for the animal's safety.
The other new pet law gives animal control officers authority to break into cars to save pets that are in distress, such as those inside vehicles parked outside in the sun. Previously, they would have had to call a law enforcement officer to enter the vehicle to save the animal. Under the new law, the owner of an unattended hot vehicle containing a pet will face a fine of up to $500 and as much as six months in jail.
By Kelly Browne, Assistant Director for Public Services