Scarlatti can play for hours. No, I don’t mean 18th century Italian composer Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti. I mean Lisa Sickles’ 3-and-a-half-year-old Australian shepherd.
“Yes, good girl!” the professional dog trainer says, offering her dog encouragement as the two play fetch on a beautiful spring day in Denver’s Washington Park.
“I definitely don’t want to see dogs injured,” says Lisa.
She’s referring to her concerns about the Colorado bill signed into law on April, 13 that allows people to break into a car to help a distressed dog.
“I have some concerns about liability on the other side. Liability if the dog is not distressed," she says.
Lisa wants to know what happens if someone broke a car window to help a dog that was not in distress, for example, and the dog bites them or runs away. She’s concerned that the dog owner would be held accountable even if the dog was never at risk.
Representative Lorie Saine (R. District 63) sponsored the bill through the Colorado legislature. She says that if people don’t follow the proper procedure outlined in the bill, and are found to have illegally broken into the car, they will be held liable, in the situations Lisa is concerned about. Representative Saine stresses that this new law is designed to help dogs that are in need of help, and not to encourage vigilantism.
As Scarlatti breathlessly pants while returning her Frisbee to her person, Lisa says she sees some good and some bad potential in this new law.
“The best case scenario,” she says, “those people that are irresponsible, and do leave their dogs in a car on a really hot day, I think we can save those dogs. Worst case scenario I’m afraid that dogs could get injured or dogs could get hurt or the liability of a dog might [may fall] to somebody that’s trying to do the right thing.”
Overall, Lisa feels the heart is in the right place, but this law is too broad.