The state of Wisconsin has made it legal for good Samaritans to free animals and children out of hot cars.
The law covers breaking a window as well, which means you will not be charged with a crime if you decide to break into someone’s car in order to free their struggling pet or child.
Wisconsin is the fourth state in the country to introduce these new laws, after Tennessee, Florida and Ohio, although the law in Ohio doesn’t go into effect until September. Each of them was passed within the last two years.
Similar bills are being proposed in the states of California, New York and Massachusetts. The law allows concerned citizens to break the window of the car in question, but only under specific conditions.
You need to be absolutely certain that the animal, or child, in question is really in danger, forcibly entering the vehicle must be a last resort, and you must inform the local authorities of what you’re about to do. You must also stay by the vehicle until either the owner or local law enforcement arrive. Failure to fulfill these conditions will result with a penalty.
“I wonder whether or not in the 25 cases where children died last year, or hundreds, if not thousands of cases where pets died last year, whether or not people saw it happening but they didn’t think that was their business or their call or didn’t want to get in trouble damaging the property,” Tod Ohnstad, one of the bill’s co-authors, said.
Go to the next page to read what the Humane Society of the United States says about this.