Law protects people who help dogs in hot cars

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jul 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 07:50:02-04

This week a Green Bay Police officer shattered the window of a locked vehicle where a dog had been left inside. The windows were up, the engine was off, and the temperature was almost 100 degrees.

If any person sees a dog or a person locked inside a car on a sweltering hot day, Wisconsin Act 103 is a law passed this year that protects those people from being sued for stepping in.

State Representative David Steffen was a co-sponsor of the bill and a dog lover himself. He says the bill should have been passed long ago. It was welcomed with bipartisan support.

He emphasizes that the law has some requirements, like the person must call police and get them involved. They should assess the situation to determine if the pet or person is in harm's way by staying in the vehicle. 

If they determine that whomever is in the vehicle needs to get out immediately, and forcible entry is the only way, they should go to the window opposite of where that person is sitting and break it.

Fire departments recommend using an everyday object with a point, and striking one of the bottom corners where the window is weakest.

Once freed, the bystander should stay with the dog until police arrive.