TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – The City Council on Monday approved a measure that they hope will better protect pets from being left in unattended vehicles.

Code Enforcement Coordinator Sean Standley presented the proposed ordinance, saying the police department receives numerous calls about animals being locked in cars during hot weather.

The new ordinance aims to do two things: educate citizens about the dangers of leaving their pets in unattended vehicles, especially in warm weather; and it “gives us a little better avenue to enforce infraction penalties” for people who do, he said. The ordinance carries a $100 infraction fee.

The ordinance also allows officers the ability to remove from vehicles animals they deem are in danger due to heat exhaustion or other hazards. Standley said breaking windows would be done only "after exhausting other efforts” to remove the animal.

Most of the calls the department receives are from citizens who notice pets locked inside vehicles at parking lots, but he said it also receives calls about animals in vehicles on streets and even on private property.

Vice Mayor Suzanne Hawkins said she supported passing the new ordinance but was frustrated that “we have to legislate common sense."

"Pet owners should know to not leave their pets in their vehicles," she said.

Standley said he believes the ordinance is “a great tool not only to educate, but to enforce.”

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