News 12 First at Five / Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- When was the last time you left your pet in the car unattended? The city of Augusta is planning to get tough on pet owners.
Lorna Barrett went before commissioners looking to help animals left in hot cars.
"If it comes down to that animal dying, of course, rescue that animal." Barrett said. "Break the window if you have to."
She wants that in writing. Barrett is pushing for a new law allowing law enforcement to break into cars with dogs in distress.
"I just think that many of the laws and ordinances have not been updated for many years," she said.
Public Safety Chairman Joe Jackson says he can not approve regular citizens knocking out others' windows.
"I think that the common animal lover doesn't take their dogs with them on a 100-degree day," Jackson said. "I think it should be left up to the fire department, animal control or the sheriff's department. That way, the liability is on them."
The pet owner would have to foot the window repair bill.
"If you are going to put a dog in 140-degree car, I would say it's pretty ignorant," said Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles. "If there is somebody ignorant enough to lock up a car in 110-degree temperatures where it could get up to 145 inside of a car, then they deserve their window to be knocked out."
The city law department will take the next 30 days to put together that new ordinance. The Augusta Public Safety committee approved the move this week.