Can You Legally Break A Car Window To Save A Dog In New York State?
A New York woman has been charged after leaving a dog in a car on a hot day. Shermika Walker of Buffalo was charged with animal cruelty charge after she allegedly left a dog in her car at Airport Plaza in Cheektowaga, according to WKBW. The temperature was 91 degrees when the incident happened.
Summer officially kicks off on Tuesday and temperatures will continue to rise across the state. If you see a dog in a car that is not running and it's hot, can you save the animal by breaking a window? Here's what New York State law says. According to The Humane Society of The United States,
Leaving pets locked in cars is never safe. But when the weather gets warmer, it can be deadly. High temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and even death. Protecting animals from an unnecessary death is a problem we can all agree to prevent.
According to New York Agriculture and Markets Law § 353-d,
Confinement of companion animals in vehicles: extreme temperatures. 1. A person shall not confine a companion animal in a motor vehicle in extreme heat or cold without proper ventilation or other protection from such extreme temperatures where such confinement places the companion animal in imminent danger of death or serious physical injury due to exposure to such extreme heat or cold.
Are You Legally Allowed To Save An Animal By Breaking A Vehicle Window?
The answer is no. But you can contact someone who can. While it is illegal to leave an animal in a vehicle unattended in extremely hot summer weather, only certain people can actually break a car window to rescue the animal.
Where the operator of such a vehicle cannot be promptly located, a police officer, peace officer, peace officer acting as an agent of a duly incorporated humane society, emergency medical services personnel, paid firefighter, or volunteer firefighter who in the performance of such volunteer firefighter's duties are directed to respond to a call for assistance for such animal may take necessary steps to remove the animal or animals from the vehicle.
Any of the people listed above are protected from criminal or civil litigation due to their actions to free the pet. Any person who leaves their companion animal in an unsafe vehicle can receive a fine, according to New York State law,
Any person who knowingly violates the provisions of subdivision one of this section shall be guilty of a violation, punishable by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars for a first offense, and a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred and fifty dollars for a second and subsequent offenses.