Most states have penalties for people who leave animals in hot cars, but Tennessee is the first to offer protection for people who come to their rescue.
Good news! In Tennessee, it’s now legal to break into a car – as long as you’re trying to save an animal.
As of yesterday (July 8, 2015), a new state law protects citizens from being sued if they are freeing a pet from a hot car. Although 16 other states have some sort of protection for animals left in parked, hot cars, Tennessee is the first to extend its “Good Samaritan Law” to protect people only aiming to help animals.
The law was passed after a Georgia man was arrested in Tennessee for breaking a car window to save a dog in distress. Shortly after the car’s owner dropped the charges against him.
One might hope the law persuades people to think twice before they leave their pets in hot cars while running errands. Even if an individual cracks their windows, an 85-degree day can cause the temperature in a parked car to reach 120 degrees F within a half hour.
If you’re interested in finding out which states have laws protecting animals left in parked vehicles, Michigan State University has a great list here.
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