Kristina Bergsten

Can I break a car window to save a dying dog?


In April of this year, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill into law protecting Good Samaritans from

prosecution who break car windows to save dying dogs. However, be aware that the law does not go into effect until August 9, 2017.

There are, of course, some requirements in order to receive protection under the law and not be prosecuted for damaging property:

You must have a reason to believe the pet is in immediate danger such as death or a serious medical complication,

Seek other methods to enter the vehicle and only use necessary force,

Make a reasonable effort to find the car’s owner,

Call the police or animal control, and

Wait by the broken window for authorities to arrive.

Animal control and the police are required to take action against people who leave their dogs in hot cars. Such pet owners could face charges associated with animal cruelty and even possible jail time. If you find yourself breaking windows to save pets, following the above steps will keep you from landing in legal trouble along with the pet owner.

It is always best to leave your pet at home where he/she is cool and comfortable. Even taking walks during the day on hot concrete or asphalt can be extremely damaging to pets: their paws can get burnt, blistered, infected, and scarred. If you have to walk your pooch during hotter parts of the day, make sure to choose shady routes with opportunities for your pet to walk on grass or dirt. Also remember that animals can get sunburns on their skins just like people.

Conscientious pet ownership prevents pets from being in dangerous situations, and Good Samaritans from breaking windows.

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