Most people know dogs can die in a hot car, dog owners are more likely to know than other people but it has always been a well publicised campaign , and quite rightly so. However, what do you do if you see a dog that needs help in a car? Where does the law stand on people breaking into a car to help a dog?
Although many people know the risks about leaving dogs in hot cars they may not know quite how fast things can become dangerous. Even with an outside temperature of around 22 degrees centigrade a car can reach 47 degrees inside within an hour. Those kind of temperatures would be highly dangerous for people, and they can sweat and don’t have fur, but for a dog they are fatal. Even with the windows open a car can soon become dangerous so the advice is simply not to leave your dog in the car at all unless you are with it.
If you were to see a dog suffering in a car the natural reaction may well be to smash the window and get the animal out. However, the law would see that as criminal damage and you could be liable and answerable to the courts. There are some blurred lines though because the Criminal Damage act of 1971 states that you are allowed to commit damage if you believe the property owner would give their permission if they were there. So at that moment you have to decide if the owner of the car values their dog over their car window, let’s all hope the answer is always that they do.
The advice from organisations like the RSPCA is to first all call them if you see a dog stuck in a hot car and in danger. If you feel time is not on the dog’s side then call the Police and ask what their estimated time of arrival would be. If the answer is longer than you feel the animal may have then you have to make a call at that point in regards to the Criminal Damage Act of 1971.
Once again, the advice is really simple, don’t leave your dog in your car. However if you are going on holiday and you have to travel with your pet then make sure you allow the dog plenty of rest stops so it can have a run around and do what it needs to do. You should also pack lots of water and remember to offer in a drink regularly, you can even get non spill bowls for the car these days. Don’t forget to make sure your dog is secure in the car for safety reasons. The last point is less essential depending on how many legs you have but pack some treats, make your dog feel rewarded for being in the car and everyone’s journey will be better.