In NY Can You Legally Break A Window To Save A Pet In A Hot Car?
So, picture this situation, you walk out of the grocery store and you see a dog left alone in a hot car on a hot summer day. The dog is panting and is obviously in distress. What do you do? What are you legally allowed to do in New York?
You might be surprised, but legally there is nothing you can do except call 911 and wait for the police. If you take it upon yourself to break the car window to save the pet in distress you could face legal trouble. That's because New York isn't one of the states with "Good Samaritan" laws to protect someone in this situation. Instead, you'll face a misdemeanor charge.
Okay, what if it was a child left in a hot car? Of course, then you can break the car window, right? No, technically it's illegal in New York and you could face charges even if you save the child.
According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, only Connecticut, California, Colorado, Indiana, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee have “Good Samaritan” laws that allow any person to break a car window to save a pet. In New York, only law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical professionals, and humane officers can legally break a car window to save a pet or child in a hot car.
Lawmakers tried to pass a good samaritan law in New York in 2015 after a black lab that was left in a car at the state fair died. Witnesses that were there didn't break the car window to save the dog because they were afraid of the legal trouble that they could get in. The dog's owner was charged with animal cruelty and given three years probation.
It seems crazy to me that someone in that situation would have to weigh the options of whether or not to break a car window to save a pet or child in a hot car. In my opinion, there is no question what I would do. I would call 911, inform them of the situation and let them know I'm smashing the window to save the pet or child in the hot car. I wouldn't even think twice about it. It would totally be worth it to face the consequences to save a pet or especially a child left in a hot car.
It is never a good idea to leave a pet or child unattended in a vehicle on a hot day, even for a few minutes. On a 70-degree day, the temperature inside a vehicle can climb to 89 degrees in 10 minutes, according to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation.