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Proposed Albany County law aims to protect pets left in cars

ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - A law to protect pets from cold conditions in cars is now in the hands of the county executive in Albany, after the county legislature passed the law on Monday night.

"I think people forget that cold weather is just as harmful," said Mohawk Hudson Humane Society President Todd Cramer.

Cramer says the frigid northeast temps are just as dangerous as the intense heat.

"They can suffer hypothermia just like we can, a blanket in the car isn't going to be enough, a heated seat isn't going to be enough," Cramer said.

That's why the shelter was in support of a local law proposal.

“It seemed obvious to me that the state laws and enforcement was falling short," said Albany County Legislator Bryan Clenahan.

Clenahan introduced the local law which passed Monday night, hardening the rules around leaving a pet in a hot or cold car.

The law ups a fine for a pet owner to no more than $150 for a first offense, no more than $300 for a second, and no more than $500 for a third or subsequent offense.

"We really wanted to make this a true deterrent to really protect animals that way,” Clenahan said. “It didn't seem like the state law with the fine as little as $50 was really effective."

It also extends state law which only permits police or peace officers to rescue animals in distress.

"Our local law would go well beyond that to include firefighters, emergency medical technicians, local dog control or animal control officers, veterinarians or veterinarians' technicians," Clenahan said.

Any other person who is concerned about a pet is encouraged to call 9-1-1.

"It's a great law,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said. “It's just another tool in our toolbox.”

The law, which passed in the legislature unanimously, is now in the hands of the County Executive.

A spokesperson for the county executive said Wednesday: "Our office has just received the documents from Monday night's meeting. We will review and schedule a public hearing."

One that pet advocates believe won't be an issue.

"I’m confident that it will pass,” Cramer told CBS6.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy has 30 days to move forward with that public hearing before it can officially become local law.


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