There are many good Samaritan laws in each state; however, few apply to animals locked in hot cars. It is important that people go out of their way when saving dogs from hot cars. In 2015 Tennessee passed a law that allowed passersby to break into a car if they feel that an animal or small child is in danger.
There are sixteen states in the U.S. that have laws regarding leaving animals in a parked car on extremely hot days and with summer approaching it is important to remember to never leave your dog, cat, or any pet unattended, but especially on hot summer days as thousands of dogs die each year after being left in parked cars on sweltering days (Numbers on pet deaths due to locked cars). If you are in Tennessee of course you can take direct action. Firstly, make sure the dog is calm and not aggressive. Next, after checking to see if the doors are unlocked you can break the window, but make sure the animal or child is away from the glass. Make sure to alert the police of your actions and tell them to come to the spot where you are located. Keep the dog or cat safe, give them some water, and wait for the police and owner.
However, if you do not live in Tennessee you can do the following:
- Your should first try to find the owner of the car and the dog. If the car in question is parked at a supermarket or shopping center, asking them to make an announcement to contact the owners of the vehicle is the first step to take.
- If the owners of the car cannot be contacted or do not return to the car quickly, contact the police as an emergency to attend the vehicle.
- Where you stand legally if you break into a car to rescue an overheating dog is something of a grey area in many states; Although, you should not take any action to gain access to the car if you feel that the situation is dire I say to heck with the owner, a life is much more precious than a car window.
- Try to locate the owners and escalate procedures to have the dog removed from the car via the police as soon as you find a dog in a hot car. Even if a dog appears ok upon your arrival they can quickly become distressed, and you should begin taking action to have the dog removed from the car as soon as possible to minimize the chances of this happening.
We should all strive to be decent members of society and that includes being benevolent towards animals. If you see in animal in need you should not hesitate to step in and help as indifference to animal cruelty in this day and age is completely unacceptable. Many states have laws against leaving animals in locked cars on hot days; however, most states are still lacking in having a sufficient number of laws in place to protect animals. We must contact our representatives and government and voice our concerns. I want a future that extends every human right to animals, now that is a utopia.