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New state law is intended to prevent animal suffering

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Governor Charlie Baker was joined by dogs and members of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Animal Rescue League, and the Humane Society for a ceremonial signing Wednesday of “An Act Preventing Animal Suffering and Death.”John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

A new Massachusetts law allows people to enter other people's cars to rescue trapped, overheated animals, if the owners cannot be found.

Governor Charlie Baker signed "An Act Preventing Animal Suffering and Death" on Friday. The bill was originally filed by State Senator Mark Montigny, a Democrat from New Bedford.

The bill forbids people from leaving their pets inside their vehicles during periods of extreme heat or cold. Officials are allowed to enter the vehicle to retrieve the pet after making a reasonable effort to contact the owner.

If a bystander believes retrieving the animal is essential to the pet's well-being, they are also allowed to enter the vehicle if they have made efforts to contact the owner. After removing the pet from the vehicle, they must then remain with the animal until law enforcement officials arrive.


The legislation also stipulates that whenever there is a weather advisory, warning, or watch in place, a dog owner can not tether a dog outside for more than 15 minutes, with a few exceptions.

Governor Baker held a ceremonial bill signing for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Ashburton Park next to the State House.

More photos from the ceremonial signing:

John Tlumacki
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
John Tlumacki
John Tlumacki

Olivia Quintana can be reached at olivia.quintana@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana.