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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 12, 2017 10:09 AM
From: Representative Dom Costa
To: All House members
Subject: Installation of Heat Alert Systems in Certain Law Enforcement Vehicles (Former HB1539)
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation – former House Bill 1539 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – to safeguard dogs used by law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth by requiring the installation of heat alert systems in certain law enforcement vehicles.

As you may know, many law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth employ dogs to assist them in protecting people and property. Prior to beginning their service, these animals receive countless hours of preparation and training at specialized facilities. As a result, the cost to taxpayers and law enforcement agencies to obtain one of these “K9 officers” can be in excess of $20,000. Although this investment is substantial, law enforcement agencies realize that these animals are invaluable in reducing crime and saving human lives.

While on patrol with their handlers, these dogs must frequently be left in a vehicle for an extended period of time. In the summer months, when the temperature inside a vehicle can easily exceed 160 degrees Fahrenheit, handlers typically make sure the air conditioner is operating when they leave the vehicle to keep the dog from overheating. Unfortunately, throughout the country, there are numerous instances each year in which the dog remains in the vehicle when the temperature inside rises to unsafe levels. Tragically, the dogs in these circumstances are left to suffer in the intense heat and often die an agonizing death from heat exhaustion.

As a result, certain law enforcement agencies, such as the City of Pittsburgh’s police department, have invested in heat alert systems in their vehicles that transport canines. These systems notify the handler when temperatures exceed a preset limit and otherwise intervene to keep the dog from overheating. My legislation would provide for the installation of these heat alert systems in any vehicle used for canine law enforcement in Pennsylvania.

Please join me in supporting these animals that dutifully protect our lives and property by co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB309