It Is Now Legal In Florida To Break Into A Hot Car To Rescue Pets And Children
A quick errand into the store doesn’t feel like a speedy trip to a child or dog. In fact, PETA estimates that in just 15 minutes, animals can sustain brain damage or even die from heatstroke.
Because an average of 37 children (in the U.S.) die every year from heatstroke in the car, legal action has been taken in twenty states to protect those who break into vehicles to rescue them. Florida is the most recent state to join the list.
Recently, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott passed a bill which legalizes breaking into locked vehicles to rescue pets and people that are believed to be in danger of suffocation or harm. The law also applies to the rescue of “vulnerable persons,” such as kids or adults with mental or physical impairments.
Now, if a passerby believes a pet or a person is in need of rescuing and breaks into the car, they are exempted from civil liability for any damage to the vehicle. Of course, there are a few stipulations they must follow.
The Weather Channel reports that the rescuer must first ensure that the vehicle is locked. Next, it is required that they have reasonable belief that entering the vehicle is actually necessary to the person or animal. If they still find they need to break into the vehicle, they must call 911 or law enforcement either before or immediately after they do so. Finally, the rescuer must use only the necessary amount of force to break in, and must remain with the person or animal until first-responders arrive.
According to No Heat Stroke, the most common reason children (and pets) are left behind in cars is because they are forgotten. With this new law in place, hopefully, hundreds of lives are saved.