Starting Sunday you can legally smash a window to rescue a pet from a hot car

With a new year comes new laws and one that you will definitely want to keep in mind from now on as you walk through Coachella Valley parking lots in the summer, is that you can now legally smash the window of a hot car if a douchebag leaves an animal inside of it.

Assembly Bill 797, known as the “Right to Rescue Act,” allows Good Samaritans to smash windows if necessary, so long as some conditions are met

The conditions:

  • Checking to ensure the car cannot be opened
  • Observing the animal is suffering harm, or is in immediate danger
  • Calling law enforcement
  • Remaining with the animal until first responders arrive
  • Not using more force than necessary during the rescue

Anyone who follows those steps when rescuing an animal will be protected from criminal prosecution of liability for civil damages.

When it is 80 degrees outside, the inside of a vehicle can reach 120 degrees within 10 minutes.  It can reach 150 degrees on a 90 degree day and, unfortunately, some people just do not understand how dangerous it is.

Dan Felizzatto, Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County DA’s office, says hundreds of animals suffer from being left in hot vehicles each year – with many of the animals dying as a result.

“By the time a citizen spots an animal trapped in a hot vehicle the situation is often dire, and requires immediate action,” he told KTLA. “AB 797 provides a legal framework for a Good Samaritan to follow in order to remove an animal from a hot vehicle, without fear of legal repercussions. AB 797 will save lives.”