Update from Richmond - Helping Pets in Distress

Posted by on February 12, 2016

Have you ever witnessed a companion animal in distress, say locked in a car on a hot day?

My legislation (SB9) would amend the Code of Virginia to give the appropriate authorities civil immunity in their attempts to enter a vehicle to rescue a companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death.

I introduced this legislation at the request of our friends at the Norfolk SPCA and for animals like Ace (with me in the photo) who I met at a visit to the shelter.

Although this bill was initially introduced to grant civil immunity to good Samaritans, the amended version of SB9 is also a step in the right direction for promoting responsible ownership of companion animals.

The bill passed in the Courts of Justice Committee and could be voted on in the full Senate sometime next week.

Track progress on SB9 <HERE>.

SB9 Summary
Civil immunity; forcible entry of motor vehicle to remove unattended companion animal.
No law-enforcement officer as defined in § 9.1-101, firefighter as defined in § 65.2-102, emergency medical services personnel as defined in § 32.1-111.1, or animal control officer who in good faith forcibly enters a motor vehicle in order to remove an unattended companion animal that is at risk of serious bodily injury or death shall be liable for any property damage to the vehicle entered or injury to the animal resulting from such forcible entry and removal of the animal, unless such property damage or injury results from gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.