Bill on animals locked in cars gaining traction in Washington state

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill that makes it a civil offense to lock a pet in a car under dangerous conditions has won unanimous approval from the Washington state Senate.

With little debate, senators approved the bill 49-0 Friday morning to expand Washington's animal-protection laws. If the bill becomes law, it would create a $125 fine for leaving an unattended animal in a car, or other enclosed space, where it might be harmed by heat, cold or lack of ventilation. The bill also removes all liability for animal control officers or police who damage property when they break in to rescue confined animals.

The measure also expands Washington's prohibitions against dog and rooster fighting to cover all animals.

State Sen. Joe Fain (R-Auburn) introduced the bill.

"Every summer we hear terrible stories on the enws about dogs who have been left in cars, but officers have to wait," Fain said. "Despite a clear need for help."