Is It Legal To Break Into A Hot Car To Save A Dog In Texas?
Temperatures across Texas are quickly warming up. Summer is here and it is starting to feel like it. That means our vehicles will be getting hot as they sit outside. Unfortunately, there are still many instances around the state where people either leave a baby or an animal in a locked, hot car.
In Texas, as long as you are making a good faith effort to save a person's life, like a baby or child that is locked in a hot car, you are free to do so and there have been times where people have needed to do that.
So what about for dogs or cats? Or other animals? Can a stranger break into a car to save a dog from a hot car? Not in Texas. In Texas, you can be held liable for breaking a window or breaking into a vehicle.
According to the Dallas Morning News, some states like Arizona, California, Colorado, and Florida allows people to save an animal from a hot car, but again, not Texas.
According to the Dallas Morning News, animals can die from heatstroke in 15 minutes.
Even in cooler temperatures, cars can heat up to dangerous temperatures quickly, the CDC says, and leaving a window open is not enough, as car temperatures can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes even with windows cracked. In addition, children left unattended in parked cars have the greatest risk for heatstroke and even death. Thirty-eight children each year die by being left in an unattended vehicle, the weather service says.
Animals can die from heatstroke within fifteen minutes, according to the weather service.
So what can you do if you see a dog in a hot car? Write down details about the car and notify businesses in the area, maybe the owner of the car ran in for a quick minute and needs to know their animal is not doing well. You could also stay with the car or even call the non-emergency line for the police.
Bottom line, yes you can break into a vehicle in Texas to save a child. But no, you can't break in in order to save a dog or cat.