New Jersey Law: It’s Illegal to Break Into a Hot Vehicle to Save a Dog
It will finally start to feel like summer over the next couple of days as temps soar into the 90's. As the temperature rises, so does the dangers of heat related injuries to humans and our four-legged friends.
If you're out and about with your best friend, please keep in mind that you should never leave your pet unattended in your car. Temps can soar to 100 + degrees in just minutes as the sun's heat becomes trapped in a parked car. Rolling down windows will have little effect. The trapped animal could suffer from heatstroke, which could become fatal.
Unfortunately, if you ever come across an animal trapped in a car, you can not break a window to save it, as you would be breaking the law in New Jersey, according to the Animal League Defense Fund.
New Jersey is one of the only states in the nation, along with West Virginia, where it's illegal to leave an animal trapped in a hot car. But, no one, even law enforcement, can save an animal by breaking into a car. There are Good Samaritan, hot car bills pending in the state of New Jersey which would provide immunity and civil and criminal liability for rescuing an animal from a car under inhumane conditions. Both bills were last updated in May and June of 2018.
There are steps you can take if you do come across a poor animal trapped inside a stifling car, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
- Take down the car's make, model and license plate number.
- If there are businesses nearby, alert their managers or security guards and ask them to make an announcement to find the car's owner.
- Call the non-emergency number of the local police department or animal control and wait by the car for them to arrive.
- It's always a good idea to never, ever, leave your best friend unattended in your car especially during the summer months.