BOSTON (CBS) – As the clock ticks toward the end of formal sessions this legislative session on Beacon Hill, there is one bill gaining a lot of traction.

It would allow first responders, and sometimes civilians, to break into cars where they see an animal in distress during extreme heat or cold.

It passed the Senate unanimously in June and got approval in the House Thursday afternoon.

Cambridge Animal Control Officer Mark McCabe says pet owners who leave their animals in their cars are not trying to harm them. He says leaving the window open a crack will not keep them safe.

He says even if it’s 70 degrees outside, the temperature in the car can soar up to 118 degrees in minutes. To illustrate, Stephanie Harris of the Humane Society and Laura Hagen of the MSPCA, wearing dog costumes, spent the rally in a closed car as the temperature rose to 110 degrees.

They were dripping with sweat. “Animals don’t have that advantage, they can’t sweat,” Hagen said. “I had a fake fur coat on today and it was almost intolerable.”

The law allows first responders to break into cars where animals are in distress. Civilians can too, after they have called 911. The civilian would not be held liable for damage to the car.

Nadine Pellegrini of the MSPCA says the law strikes a balance. “We’re just hoping that this will really diminish the possibility that pets are dying in cars, cause it’s still happening,” she says.

“I know people love their animals,” Pelligrini says. “You can love them better, you can leave them home.”

The Act to Prevent Animal Suffering and Death is now headed to the governor’s desk.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports