Calls About Hot Car Dogs Surge in Colorado; Legal To Break Glass?
Every year during the hot summer months, the story seems to come up that some agency somewhere is receiving too many calls about dogs being left behind in hot vehicles, with no water or air conditioning to fend off the extreme heat inside the car.
By now, surely you are aware that you should never, ever leave your dog in a locked car unattended during almost any kind of weather. Imagine being left out there yourself, while your companion heads inside the grocery store to shop on a 90-degree day. Even for just a few minutes, the heat would be unbearable. Now imagine you were wearing a big fur coat. You'd feel like you were suffocating. The same goes for extreme cold, for what it's worth.
With the record-breaking heat we've been experiencing, Animal Protection organizations across the state are receiving a record number of calls this year about dogs being left unattended in hot cars. Even on a 70-degree day, the temp inside a car - with the windows left cracked open as well - can reach more than 100 degrees in a matter of minutes.
So what can you do about it?
If you find a dog locked inside a hot car with no owner in sight, can you legally break the window to save them in the State of Colorado?
Colorado's HB17-1179, passed in 2017, states:
The bill provides immunity from civil and criminal liability for a person who forcibly enters a locked vehicle for the purpose of rendering assistance to an at-risk person or animal. To receive immunity, the person must:
Ensure the vehicle is not a law enforcement vehicle;
Have a reasonable belief that the person or animal is in imminent danger of death or suffering serious bodily injury;
Verify the vehicle is locked;
Make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or operator of the vehicle;
Contact a law enforcement or other first responder agency prior to forcibly entering the vehicle and not interfere with the actions of any such responding law enforcement agency;
Use no more force than reasonably necessary to enter the locked vehicle;
Remain with the at-risk person or animal in a safe location close to the vehicle until law enforcement or other first responder arrives at the scene; except that, if the person rendering assistance has to leave the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returns, prior to leaving the scene, the person rendering assistance shall leave a notice on the vehicle with his or her name and contact information and the name and location, if any, of the facility to which he or she took the at-risk person or animal. Also prior to leaving the scene, the person rendering assistance shall contact law enforcement, animal control, or other first responder to provide them with the same information.
If you don't want a good doer smashing into your prized cherry red sports car to save Fido, then by now it should be clear: do not leave your dog in the car unattended.