The Alabama House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider a bill tomorrow (Wednesday, April 26) that would allow a private citizen to forcibly enter a vehicle if they believe a person or pet in the vehicle is in danger.
The American Kennel Club agrees that no person or animal should be left in a situation where their health or safety is in danger. Those who would leave them in such a situation—including in a vehicle—should be held accountable. However, as currently written, the bill could lead to lost dogs, unnecessary property damage, and other unintended consequences.
Alabama citizens are encouraged to contact the committee prior to the meeting tomorrow to respectfully express any comments or concerns you may have with House Bill 524, and ask that the bill be amended to address your concerns. Please scroll down for committee contact information.
HB 524 would provide that a person is immune from liability for property damage or injury that results from forcible entry into a vehicle if he or she knows that a person or pet is present in the vehicle and he or she has a good faith belief that the person or pet is in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless removed from the vehicle. The person must first contact law enforcement, emergency medical services, or animal control before forcibly entering the vehicle.
As currently written, the bill would not require the person who forcibly entered the vehicle to ensure that a child, disabled person, or pet that was removed or released from the vehicle was secured and protected until emergency responders arrived.
The bill provides no recourse to the vehicle owner for damage incurred if the person or pet in the vehicle was not actually in danger. The bill also offers no protection for the owner of an animal that harms a person as a result of being removed from the vehicle. These protections are especially important if the animal flees the vehicle and becomes at large.
Alabama citizens are encouraged to contact the committee to respectfully express any comments or concerns you have and to ask that the bill be amended to address your concerns.
Alabama House Judiciary Committee:
Rep. Christopher England, Bill Sponsor, (334) 242-7703, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mike Jones, Jr., Committee Chair, (334) 242-7739, email@example.com
Rep. Jim Hill, Committee Vice Chair, (334) 242-7743, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Marcel Black, (334) 242-7686, email@example.com
Rep. Phil Pettus, (334) 242-7511, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mike Ball, (334) 242-7683, email@example.com
Rep. Allen Farley, (334) 242-7767, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mike Holmes, (334) 242-7215, email@example.com
Rep. Dickie Drake, (334) 242-7727, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. David Faulkner, (334) 242-7265, email@example.com
Rep. Jim Hill, (334) 242-7600, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Merika Coleman-Evans, (334) 242-7755, email@example.com
Rep. Juandalynn Givan, (334) 242-7684, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Matt Fridy, (334) 242-7775, email@example.com
Rep. Thad McClammy, (334) 242-7780, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Paul Beckman, (334) 242-7499, email@example.com
The AKC wishes to commend the Alabama students who worked to introduce legislation to protect persons and animals that are in immediate danger in vehicles. We applaud their advocacy and action.
For questions or more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.