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Good news for Vermont’s dogs!
A new Vermont law that took effect July 1 will shield people from civil liability when they break into a locked vehicle to rescue a child or dog that is in “imminent danger of harm.”
The law requires concerned citizens to call 911, fire or police departments before breaking into a car. They must check that all the doors are locked, must use no more force than necessary to enter the vehicle, must stay with the child or dog until emergency personnel arrive, and must leave a note on the vehicle about what happened.
In addition to protecting citizens that take necessary steps to rescue distressed pets, Vermont prosecutors can also cite the owner for animal cruelty for leaving a dog in a hot car.
Vermont has joined several other states in the country in passing these “Good Samaritan” laws that allow citizens to take direct action in rescuing dogs from hot cars, including Florida, New York, Ohio (effective August 29, 2016), Tennessee, and Wisconsin. California has a similar law pending approval. Several more states have laws that grant permission for police and animal control officials to break into vehicles to rescue distressed animals.
Would you support a similar Good Samaritan law in your own state? Why or why not?