Is It Legal To Break A Window To Save A Dog In A Hot Car In New England?
As the weather gets warmer here in Northern New England, we have to start thinking about the the safety of our pets in vehicles. While most of us know it doesn't take long for a car to get unbearably hot in the summer (even at just 70 degrees), there are still people who sadly don't know this, or just don't care. Which means that at some point, you may see a dog trapped in a vehicle on a hot day. So what would you do? Would you consider breaking the window of that car to save the dog? And if you did, would you be breaking the law?
The law varies by state, so let's take a look at New England.
According to WMTW, Maine police encourage you to call law enforcement, rather than take matters into your own hands. Maine law states that a first responder, police officer, or animal control officer can take all steps that are reasonably necessary to save a dog's life.
The website care2.com say that New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island have similar laws on the books, that allow specific public officials to take action. The Animal Legal Defense Fund says that in Massachusetts, a Good Samaritan can break a window to save a dog, but only after first contacting authorities.
Sadly there are 22 states (including Connecticut) that have nothing on the books at all about animals in hot cars.