A new law makes it illegal to leave a pet in a sweltering vehicle in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently signed the legislation, which gives police officers, animal control officers, and firefighters the authority to free animals "by any reasonable means necessary." Violators will be charged with a misdemeanor.
PETA supports the legislation, which was introduced in the Senate by Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and in the House by State Rep. Marvin Abney.
"Trapped in a steaming car with only hot air to breathe, dogs can suffer heatstroke in just 15 minutes, resulting in brain damage or death," said PETA's Lindsay Pollard-Post in a statement. "When temperatures warm up, no amount of time in a parked car is safe for dogs."
The law also makes it illegal to leave an animal in a car when it's freezing.
The law stipulates that it's illegal "for any person to confine any animal in a motor vehicle which places the animal in a life threatening or extreme health threatening situation by exposing the animal to a prolonged period of extreme heat or cold, without proper ventilation or other protection from the extreme temperature."