Legislators Propose Bill Protecting Citizens Who Break Car Windows To Save Animals

The law would allow people to take action to free animals from hot cars without the fear of criminal charges.

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The temperature inside a parked car can quickly increase even with the windows cracked. Alper SIRAKAYA/iStock/Thinkstock

Two New York legislators have proposed an amendment to a state law that would allow anyone — not just law enforcement or peace officers — to “take necessary steps” to rescue a dog or cat “in imminent danger due to heat or cold,” The Buffalo News reports.

That means if a bystander saw a distressed dog locked in a hot car, he or she could break the car’s window to save the animal without the fear of facing criminal charges.

“These are extreme situations where a dog absolutely needs help and there is nothing else the individual can do but break that window and save that life,” John Ceretto, one of the legislators behind the bill, told The Buffalo News.

Ceretto said he proposed the legislation after reading about Michael Hammons, a Georgia Army Veteran who was arrested and faced charges of criminal trespass after he broke a car window to rescue a Yorkshire Terrier. (The charges against Hammons were later dropped.) If the amendment passes, New York would be the first state to pass a law protecting citizens who break a window or open a locked door to save an animal’s life.

UPDATE: Tennessee enacted a similar bill on July 1. Read the story here.

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