- Associated Press - Sunday, July 6, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - It is now a crime in Rhode Island to leave a pet in a sweltering hot vehicle.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation that makes it a misdemeanor to leave an animal in a vehicle that puts it in a life-threatening situation because of prolonged extreme temperatures. That also includes the cold.

The legislation authorizes animal control officers, law enforcement and firefighters to take possession of an animal thought to be in danger after making an effort to find the vehicle’s owner.

The punishment is imprisonment of up to a year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.

The legislation was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio and Rep. Marvin Abney.

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