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Wisconsin's New Hot Car Law and Caring For Your Pets During the Summer

James Havard
Dogs in a car

Late last month, Wisconsin became one of a handful of states that allow people to rescue people and animals locked in hot cars.  The so-called “Good Samaritan” law is designed to prevent a person with good intentions from incurring a civil penalty for acting.

But you can't just smash the window. There are rules such people must follow, says Karen Sparapani. Sparapani is the Executive Director of MADACC, The Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.

"The law is very specific." She says. "You must first check to see if you can get in without smashing anything. Then you must look to see if a parent or other responsible adult is nearby or approaching. ...and you must call 911 before you break a window."

Sparapani says the new law is great and it should save lives, but it’s not a substitute for common sense:

"Nothing’s better than driving down the street seeing some dog with their head hanging out the window." she says. "But if you’re gonna leave that dog in the car for even what you think will be a five minute errand that turns 10, 15 minutes – it can prove deadly, and it’s just certainly not worth the risk, ever."

Sparapani also said that this time of year is tough on all animal shelters and rescue organizations, especially when it comes to adult cats needing new homes.

"This time of year we're taking in 70 animals a day at MADACC," she says. "Unfortunately 70 animals are not leaving [to go to new homes] every day."

Because all of the area shelters are at cats capacity, they've banded together to help find them homes. The "I Cat Believe It" initiative waives all fees for adult cats for the month of July. So it's the purrfect time to adopt.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.