GRPD Sets Record Straight on How to Legally Rescue a Pet Trapped in a Hot Car
City Times Staff
GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Police is setting the record straight about what to do when a person sees a dog in a hot car.
Grand Rapids Police released a Wisconsin statute on their Facebook page that details the legalities behind when it’s appropriate to break a vehicle window to provide relief to a dog, or pet, in danger from heat. False information had been going around in recent weeks on when to and when not to enter a vehicle to rescue a pet.
Below is that exact statute which states the correct circumstances in which to do so.
895.484 Civil liability exemption; entering a vehicle to render assistance.
(1) In this section: (a) “Domestic animal” means a dog, cat, or other animal that is domesticated and kept as a household pet, but does not include a farm animal, as defined in s. 951.01 (3).
(b) “Vehicle” means a motor vehicle, or any other vehicle that is used to transport persons or cargo and that is enclosed.
(2) A person is immune from civil liability for property damage or injury that results from his or her forcible entry into a vehicle if all of the following are true:
(a) A person or a domestic animal was present in the vehicle and the actor had a good faith belief that the person or domestic animal was in imminent danger of suffering bodily harm unless he or she exited or was removed from the vehicle.
(b) The actor determined that the vehicle was locked and that forcible entry was necessary to enable the actor to enter the vehicle or to enable the person or domestic animal to be removed from or to exit the vehicle.
(c) The actor dialed the telephone number “911″ or otherwise contacted law enforcement, emergency medical services, or animal control before he or she forcibly entered the vehicle.
(d) The actor remained with the person or domestic animal until a law enforcement officer, emergency medical service provider, animal control officer, or other first responder arrived at the scene.
(e) The actor used no more force than he or she reasonably believed necessary to enter the vehicle in order to remove the person or domestic animal or to allow the person or domestic animal to exit the vehicle.
(f) If the actor left the scene before the owner or operator of the vehicle returned to the scene, the actor placed a notice on the windshield of the vehicle that included his or her name, telephone number, and mailing address, the reason he or she entered the vehicle, and the location, if known, of the person or domestic animal when the actor left the scene.
To summarize — a person who believes a pet is in danger inside of a locked vehicle must check the vehicle to make sure it is locked, dial ‘911’ or contact law enforcement before entering the vehicle, remain on the scene until authorities or a medical service provider is present, and use no more force than necessary to enter the vehicle.
If all of the above are true, and that person leaves the scene before the owner of the vehicle returns to the scene, they must place contact information on their windshield, including name, number, mailing address, location of the vehicle and why they entered it.
You can check out the Grand Rapids Police Department’s Facebook page by visiting https://www.facebook.com/GRPOLICE/