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HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — A new Pennsylvania law will empower law enforcement agencies to protect dogs and cats left unattended in hot cars.

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Gov. Tom Wolf signed The Motor Vehicle Extreme Heat Protection Act into law Wednesday.

The legislation allows police and humane officers new powers in saving the lives of innocent animals left alone in extremely hot vehicles.

The law protects pets by establishing the following:

  • Officers can remove dogs or cats from an unattended motor vehicle if they believe the animal is in imminent danger after a reasonable search for the car owner.
  • Requires that an officer who removes a pet from an unattended vehicle must leave a note for the owner, with the officer’s information and where the pet can be picked up.
  • Updating the definition of neglect — prohibiting the confinement of a dog or cat in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger the health and well-being of the animal.
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The law also protects officers who remove a pet from an unattended vehicle from liability for any damages.

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The act is the second major piece of legislation signed by Wolf that increases animal protections.

“A few months ago, we celebrated the one-year anniversary of the first significant strengthening of Pennsylvania’s animal protection statutes in nearly 30 years with the enactment of Act 10 of 2017, which included Libre’s Law,” said Wolf. “Today, I am proud to sign this bill and build on the progress we have made for animals in the commonwealth. Thank you to the advocates and legislators who made this possible.”

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The bill also expands protections guaranteed to service dogs in housing and public places.