Summer may be finished for most of the country, but in the hotter states, temperatures are still reaching between 70 and 90F. As beautiful as 70F feels outside, the inside of a car, especially if left in the sun, can reach staggeringly high temperatures fast.
Leaving the windows cracked is not sufficient enough to prevent overheating and heatstroke. This is a potentially dangerous situation for dogs, who can lose their lives to heatstroke within minutes.
With all the education available for pet owners on the dangers of leaving their furry friends in the car for even a few minutes, people still don’t think the situation through, and we hear news of dogs dying in hot cars. However, in some states, good samaritans are protected from the adverse legal action when they break into a hot car to save the life of a pet inside.
Oregon is the most recent state to pass legislation enabling people to break into other people’s cars for the sake of saving a life. It is important to note that calling 911 is always the first step. As a good samaritan, you must inform the police of your intention to save a dog from a hot car before you break in so that when first responders arrive on the scene, you are not seen as a threat to the public or law enforcement.
If you encounter a dog in a car that is distressed and you don’t know if your state has good samaritan laws, call 911 for assistance. Also, don’t be afraid to make a scene by looking for the vehicle owner. Go into the nearby shops and inquire. You should also stay with the dog until help arrives. If the window is cracked enough, you may be able to offer water from a bottle through the crack but don’t give the dog too much. And even if your state doesn’t have laws in place to protect good samaritans, some people may break into a hot car in spite of the consequences to save the life of our dearest companions.