Recently in Central Phoenix, a 6 month old Pit Bull puppy died after being locked in a hot car. The outside temperature was a sweltering 110 degrees. If you saw this dog locked in the car, would you have broken the window to rescue that dog? Would it have been legal? The question was raised and there has been a lot of conversation debating the legalities of doing exactly that.
Azfamily.com reported on this debate and spoke with attorney Russ Richelsoph. In a nutshell, here’s what they found out.
Mr. Richelsoph stated that it would be rare for a person to be charged with a crime in an attempt to save a dog from the sweltering heat citing the Necessity Defense. The Necessity Defense essentially means that “breach of the law is more advantageous to society than the consequence of strict adherence to the law”. He goes on to say that the police will consider these things when deciding if your decision to break the window in attempt to rescue the dog was warranted:
- How much is the dog suffering?
- Will the dog die if the window is not broken?
- Is there time to call the authorities and wait for their help?
- Can the owner be found quickly and in enough time to save the dog?
“You should really call the police or call the fire department before you do it,” said Richelsoph.
If you are unsure if a dog trapped in a hot vehicle is suffering from heat stroke, here are some of the signs:
- Excessive panting
- Unusually red gums and/or tongue
- Loss of consciousness
- Inability to stand up