The weather is hotting up and so is the inside of our vehicles
If you see a dog trapped inside a hot car is it illegal to smash a window to save it?
Warm temperatures are here again in the UK following a record breaking Bank Holiday where the temperatures reached 29 degrees in some parts of the country.
Whilst it’s great to get out and about in the nice weather, it might not be the same for our furry friends who get left in the car as we nip into shops or visit an eating place.
The temperature in a car during the hot weather can soon turn so hot that no animal should be left inside. A dog could become distressed very quickly especially if the windows have been left closed and no fresh air is getting inside.
But what happens if you do spot a dog in distress inside a locked vehicle during hot weather, can you smash the window to save it or will you be prosecuted?
UK charity, the RSPCA, has revealed that on 19 April they received 100 calls related to dogs left in cars and are concerned about the number of calls they’ve received this year regarding our so called furry friends being left in such a vulnerable state.
The best advice if you come across an animal in distress inside a vehicle is to call the emergency services as they know how to deal with these situations.
Sometimes though time is of the essence and according to solicitor Matthew Reynolds, who works for Kirwans law firm who are based in Merseyside: “Although smashing a window to rescue a distressed dog in a locked vehicle could lead to a charge of criminal damage, you would have a lawful excuse to smash the window if you believed that the owner of the vehicle would have consented to the damage, had they been aware of the circumstances.”
Mr Reynolds also added: “It would also be a defence to a charge of criminal damage if you smashed the window to protect the owner’s property (the dog) in the belief that the dog was in need of immediate protection and that smashing the window was reasonable in the circumstances to achieve that aim.”
If you do have to remove a dog from a car in hot weather you should inform the police about what you did and why you had to do it. Before removing the dog it’s a good idea to take photos or a video of the distressed animal and take contact details from any witnesses to the incident.
On the RSPCA’s website, it claims that some motorists still think it’s okay to leave a dog in a car on a hot day with the windows left open or parked up in a shaded area but this doesn’t help the animal at all, as the inside of a car soon becomes ‘like an oven’.
According to the RSPCA, when the temperature outside is 22 degrees, a car can reach up to 47 degrees in just one hour.
If you come across an emergency situation, drivers are urged to call 999 if they believe the animal could be in immediate danger.
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