Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws is hereby amended by inserting, after Section 77B, the following new section:
(a) No owner or person shall confine an animal in a motor vehicle in a manner that could reasonably be expected to threaten the health of the animal due to exposure to extreme heat or cold. without proper ventilation or other protection from such heat or cold.
(b) In order to protect the health and safety of an animal, an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter who has probable cause to believe that this section is being violated shall have the authority to enter such motor vehicle by any reasonable means necessary under the circumstances, after making a reasonable effort under the circumstances to locate the owner or other responsible person. A law enforcement officer or animal control officer may enter the motor vehicle for the sole purpose of release of the animal and may not search the vehicle unless otherwise permitted by law.
(c) An animal control officer, law enforcement or fire fighter animal control officer who removes an animal in accordance with this section shall, in a secure and conspicuous location on or within the motor vehicle, leave written notice bearing the officer's or agent's name and office, and the address of the location where the animal may be retrieved. The owner may retrieve the animal only after payment of all charges that have accrued for the maintenance, care, medical treatment, and impoundment of the animal.
(d) A law enforcement or animal control officer who removes an animal from a motor vehicle pursuant to this section is immune from criminal or civil liability that might otherwise result from the removal.
(e) A law enforcement or animal control officer may seek a complaint against the owner or keeper of an animal who is found to have violated the provisions of this section. This section shall be subject to enforcement under the provisions of section 21D of Chapter 40.
1. The penalty for the first violation shall be $75;
2. The penalty for the second violation shall be $100 dollars;
3. The penalty for the third and each subsequent violation shall be $300.
(f) Nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution for a violation of section 77 of Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws.
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