Another week, another state does the right thing and makes it legal for Good Samaritans to bust dogs out of hot cars.
Vermont is the latest state to say that folks who rescue an animal — or a child — from a dangerously hot vehicle will be freed of civil liability. That means that you can smash a car window under these specific circumstances without having to pay for the damage.
As with the other states, you can’t just go swing a hammer whenever you please. To comply with the law, you must make sure the car is actually locked before breaking any windows. You’ve also got to have the reasonable, good faith belief that the pet (or kid) is in imminent harm, and use no more force than is really required.
Call 911 or otherwise alert law enforcement before effecting your rescue, then stay with the rescued pet or child until the cops arrive.
And leave a note on the car letting the owner know what you’ve done and why. The law provides no guidance as to how colorful your language may be in such notes; we expect you can come up with something powerfully vivid, should the need arise.
Vermont’s law went into effect on July 1 — a good start to the summer for this state’s pets.
Tennessee, Florida, and Wisconsin are the other states to have hot car laws in effect now; all got these laws within the last year. Ohio’s law kicks in in August. A handful of other states now are considering similar bills — these include California, Michigan, and Massachusetts.
Dog’s Trust created a video that perfectly illustrates why laws like this are so important.
No normal person would put their pet in a hot oven but many people do so inadvertently when taking their dog along in the car to run a ‘quick errand.’
Vermont’s new law not only prevents tragedy from striking people and pets, but creates more opportunities for spreading the life saving message that if your dog can’t come into the errand with you, it’s best to leave her home.
It’s a great trend — and the hope is that the more states pass these laws, the fewer windows will in fact need to be broken.
Featured image via Flickr/Jan Truter
Have a tip? Want to share the colorful language in a note you’ve left on an irresponsible pet owner’s car? Get in touch at [email protected]