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Tennessee lawmakers have expanded upon a law already in place that allows concerned citizens to break into a vehicle to save a child trapped inside. The new law, which took effect yesterday, July 1, now grants good Samaritans the legal right to break into a vehicle to save an animal, too.
The measure protects citizens from liability if they damage a car while trying to save a distressed or dying animal.
Under the new law, however, concerned citizens must take specific steps before breaking into a vehicle, including notifying law enforcement and making a concerted effort to locate the owner first.
Chief of Staff for the Nashville Fire Department, Mike Franklin explained to WKRN, “If you act reasonably, as any reasonable person would respond, you will not be at fault to save a life. You will not be at any fault to save a life and or animals.”
On a warm day, even with the windows partially opened, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can reach well above 100 – 120-degrees in just a matter of minutes.
Good Samaritans will legally be allowed to use any means necessary, including breaking a window, to save an animal trapped inside, after they’ve notified police and attempted to find the owner.