New Law Allows Citizens To Break Into Hot Cars To Rescue Pets

Jun 2, 2017

Credit Joe Hren / IPBS

A 75 degree, partly sunny day with a car window cracked open could still cause a pet locked inside to suffer heat stroke.

That’s why a state law that takes effect July 1st allows a passerby to break into a hot car to rescue the pet and not be charged with a crime. The law does say the person breaking the window still has to pay for half the cost of vehicle repairs.

Monroe County Humane Association Executive Director Rebecca Warren says she thinks the new law is a good step forward.

“Sometimes it could take up to 20 minutes for an animal control officer or police dispatch to get wherever that animal is and an animal can die of heat stroke in just 15 minutes,” Warren says.

The law says an attempt must be made to find the vehicle's owner and contact animal control and there must be a legitimate cause to believe the pet is in danger.

“When (the pet) pants in a hot car it just makes her hotter, and when she gets hotter, she’s just going to start to get nervous and anxious," Warren says. "She’s going to get lethargic, she might lay down, she might start to vomit, she may pass out."

She says not to submerge the pet in water once rescued, but instead use a damp, cool towel or take it someplace cool until a veterinarian can take over.