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15 States That Allow The Rescue Of Dogs Trapped in Cars

May 26, 2016 06:48 AM EDT
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Waikiki St. Patrick's Day Parade - Cute dog
Are there laws protecting dogs that are locked inside hot cars?
(Photo : Daniel Ramirez / Flickr)

The news of the arrest of a man in Georgia who smashed a car window to rescue a dog inside has sparked many questions from citizens: Are people allowed to help a dog that is trapped inside a car on an extremely hot day? Are there laws protecting these dogs? Most especially, are there laws protecting those people?

In California, a bill was recently passed granting civilians the right to use any means - which includes smashing a car window - to rescue dogs that are left inside hot vehicles. Although in many states, there are no hard-and-fast rules concerning dogs left unattended in private vehicles, offenders still face animal cruelty charges.

But these 15 states are strict in implementing their dog-in-hot-car laws and have definite rules in rescuing distressed dogs inside a vehicle.

1.     Arizona

A peace officer, animal control enforcement agent or animal control enforcement deputy may use reasonable force to open a vehicle to rescue an animal.

2.     Illinois

Rescuers who are animal control officers, law enforcement officers or Department investigators have the authority to enter the vehicle by "any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible"

3.     Maine

Rescuers may "take all steps that are reasonably necessary" to rescue an animal from a vehicle if the animal's safety, health and well-being appear to be in danger. However, rescuers must leave a written notice bearing the address of the location where the animal may be claimed.

4.     Maryland

Rescue using "reasonable force" only if you are a law enforcement officer, a local or state animal control officer, an officer of animal cruelty prevention authorized to make arrests, or a volunteer or professional of a fire and rescue service.

5.     Minnesota

Rescue using "reasonable force" only if you are a peace officer, a humane agent, a dog warden, or a volunteer or professional of a fire and rescue service. Otherwise, the person should contact the owner.

6.     North Carolina

Rescue can be done only if you are an animal control officer, animal cruelty investigator, law enforcement officer, or rescue squad worker. These people can enter a vehicle only after making reasonable effort in locating the owner.

7.     Nevada

Rescue using "reasonable force" only if you are a peace officer, officer of a cruelty to animals society authorized to make arrests, animal control officer, government officer or employee whose duty is to ensure public safety, fire department volunteer or employee or a member of a search and rescue organization supervised by the sheriff.

8.     New Hampshire

Rescue can be done only if you are a law enforcement officer or agent of a licensed humane organization.

9.     New Jersey

Rescue can be done by anyone who witnesses any animal locked inside an unattended vehicle.

10. New York

Police, peace officer, or peace officer acting as agent of humane society may take necessary steps to rescue the animal from the vehicle.

11. North Dakota

Rescue using reasonable means may be done by a law enforcement officer.

12. Rhode Island

Animal control officers, law enforcement officers or fire fighters are permitted to enter the vehicle and rescue the animal after making reasonable effort to contact the owner.

13. South Dakota

Reasonable force may be used to rescue the animal by any peace officer or agent or officer of any humane society.

14. Vermont

Any humane officer or member of a fire and rescue service may use reasonable force to rescue the animal.

15. West Virginia

Rescue can be done by anyone who witnesses any animal locked inside an unattended vehicle.

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