OnFocus – As summer approaches and temperatures rise, so do temperatures inside vehicles. If you have a co-pilot in the form of a pet with you, they too will be experiencing these rising temperatures.
Whether it’s a trip to the grocery store, post office or anywhere else you might be spending time away from your vehicle with a pet in it, remember that the animals don’t have the ability to say something when it is too hot for them.
Even if you’re out of the vehicle for “just a minute,” that can be too long. Pets don’t have the ability to regulate temperatures like humans do.
In a 2017 interview with OnFocus, Marshfield Police Department Ordinance Officer Bob Larsen said even if your windows are down, your animals can still be at risk.
“The problem with the car is people think that rolling windows down, all four of them, is adequate ventilation. It’s not,” said Larsen.
If you notice an animal is stuck inside a vehicle in extreme temperatures, here’s what to know about potentially helping that animal:
State Statute 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 emergency medical responder, as defined in s. 256.01 (4p), 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.
People attempting to break in and help an animal could be facing legal consequences even if some of these criteria are met. The best thing to do is to call 9-1-1 and attempt to find the owner of the vehicle and animal.
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