Is It Legal To Smash A Car Window To Save A Dog In Massachusetts?

So, you are walking through a parking lot on a super hot day, and you notice a dog that was left inside a car by its owner. The windows are all rolled up and the dog looks like it’s in distress. What do you do? Would you break one of the windows to save the dog? Hopefully, most people would say, yes. However, in the heat of the moment (no pun intended), some people may hesitate for fear that they could get into trouble for damaging someone else’s vehicle. It’s a valid concern, of course.

Would you hesitate… or jump into action?

Whether you are the type to jump into action immediately without hesitation or if you are more of the “I don’t know if I should” type, you will be relieved to know that it’s perfectly legal to do so. You do however have to keep a couple of things in mind. According to a post on the Massachusetts State Police Facebook page, state law allows you to make entry into a parked car to rescue a pet in danger inside a hot car if you have first called 911, and if you have made a good faith attempt to find the owner before taking action.

What exactly constitutes a good faith attempt…

What exactly would be considered a good faith attempt to find the owner of the vehicle? Should you walk around the parking lot looking for the owner? Maybe you should go into the store or place of business and call out for the owner… or maybe ask for an announcement to be made? I’m not totally sure what the answer is, but in my humble opinion, if you already called 911 and you don’t see the owner anywhere nearby, It’s a go. Before you do smash the window though, it’s probably a good idea to check all the vehicle doors just in case the owner happened to leave one of them unlocked. It’s worth a try.

Just how hot can it get inside a sealed vehicle?

Officials say that you should never leave your dog inside a parked vehicle. Just to give you an idea of ​​how dangerous being inside a hot car can be for a dog, have a look at this chart, courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police. Spoiler Alert… According to the chart below, the temperature in a sealed car when it’s 90 degrees outside, for example, can reach 135 degrees after a single hour!

Massachusetts State Police

Massachusetts State Police

Please play it smart, and never leave your dog inside a parked car for any amount of time. The results can most certainly be fatal to them.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet’s phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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