Dec. 11, 2018

By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)

Did you know that on an 80-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 99 degrees in just 10 minutes, 109 degrees within 20 minutes and 114 degrees within 30 minutes? Those extreme heat conditions can be a death sentence for an animal left inside the vehicle, or at the very least it can cause irreversible organ and brain damage, or heat stroke.

A new Pennsylvania law is designed to prevent dogs and cats from suffering that kind of abuse. Act 104 of 2018 prohibits the confinement of an animal in an unattended motor vehicle in a manner that would endanger its health and well-being. Violating the statute is a summary offense.

Under Act 104, a police officer, humane officer or other public safety professional has the authority to remove the dog or cat from the unattended motor vehicle if the officer believes it is suffering and endangered after a reasonable search for the vehicle’s driver. The officer is not liable for any damages caused while rescuing the animal.

Every year, countless animals die after being left behind while their owners work, visit, shop or run other errands. This new law will also raise awareness of the dangers of leaving pets in parked cars and prevent needless suffering.

Act 104 is just the latest step taken by the General Assembly to provide better protections for our four-legged friends.

Act 10, or Libre’s Law, which took effect in August 2017, brought sweeping changes to the regulations. Among other things, it strengthened the penalties for animal abuse, placed limitations on the tethering of dogs outdoors, added protections for horses and provided civil immunity to veterinarians who report animal neglect.

You can learn more about Libre’s Law on my website,

I sometimes use this column to answer your questions regarding any state government-related matter. Please email them to me at As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Representative Tarah Toohil
116th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
717.260.6136 /