Can You Legally Break a Window to Save a Dog in Michigan?
I feel like this should go without saying, but that's not the case because I just saw this happening again the other day...
Don't leave your dog locked in your car on a hot day.
Not only is it a terrible thing to do, but it's also illegal. And don't forget how hot it can get inside a car.
Leaving Dogs in Cars on Hot Days
It doesn't need to be that warm for your car to heat up dangerously. According to WILX and The National Weather Service, "When the outside temperature is 73 degrees, it only takes 25 minutes for the inside of a car to reach 100 degrees".
So sure, you may think, I'm just running into the store for a minute. Or, I'm sure they'll be okay if I sit down to have lunch. That's not the case, and EMS Operations Chief at the Lansing Fire Department, Ralph Ortiz confirms it.
“If you leave a child or a pet in a car on a hot day, the temperature will rise very quickly. On a 90-degree day, it will rise up to 109 degrees inside the car in 10 minutes. At 104 degrees, the body starts doing bad things. At 107, it’s pretty grim for a positive outcome.”
With these dire circumstances involved, you might be wondering what you can do as a citizen to save a dog that's locked in a car on a hot day.
Can I Legally Break a Car Window to Save a Dog in Michigan?
I know, crazy, right?!
If you decide to go the breaking windows route, you'll technically be breaking and entering, and you'll face the legal ramifications as such.
What to Do to Help a Dog Trapped in a Car on a Hot Day
Here are some legal and actionable things you can do to help a dog in a hot, locked car;
- Call the authorities. Whether that's the local police office or 911, let the authorities know asap and they'll come to assist.
- Take a picture of the pet in the vehicle along with its license plate.
- Always stay with the animal, never leave.
- Stay calm. I know, easier said than done. But panicking won't help anyone.
At the end of the day, we all just want to make sure the dog is safe. However, know that if you decide to break a window (perhaps what is thought of as the morally correct thing to do), you are taking the law into your own hands, and you could face legal ramifications for your actions.