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Good News! New Tennessee Law Allows Citizens to Save Dogs From Hot Cars

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Curious Dog
Curious dog

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.

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  1. Avatar Of Teresa Ellis Teresa Ellis says:

    I think this is Great! I was at the Hamilton Place mall one day last year and noticed 3 dogs inside a locked car. I went inside to where my son worked at the time and told him. He told me they were aware of it that they had called mall security. My son also told me that they had paged the owner of the car to come out over 45 minuets before I came in. She had not come out at this time. I told him I would take care of it and he told me not to do anything stupid. I called animal control and the police. They arrived about 10 minuets later. Mall security had come before that. I was going to my truck to get the 4×4 out of my tool box when the police showed up and told me if I did this I would go to jail and I replied if thats what you have to do then after I get the dogs out you can cuff me. As I walked towards the car with the 4×4 this young lady came running towards her car and ask what I was doing and I said Im about to break out this window and give these dogs some water and she said they were her dogs. My first response was to use the 4×4 on her but I keep my cool and she unlocked the car. I had a horse feeding bowl in my truck and water in bottles theses dogs drank 4 bottles of water and were still laying on their side like they were dying. I told her to start the car and turn on the air when she did this the gage inside read the temp out side was 99 so you and I both know how hot it was inside. The police talked to her and so did animal control and they did nothing no ticket nothing. She was allowed to drive off with the dogs…

  2. Avatar Of Christina Stockton

    Christina Stockton


    Yes, if the owner cannot be readily found and after calling 911, this should be allowed everywhere!

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