Vermont’s new law protects pets and children left in hot cars

Locked cars can heat up in a matter of minutes which endanger pets and children.
Locked cars can heat up in a matter of minutes which endanger pets and children.

68 degrees is a great summer temperature for humans. However, if you are a pet or a child left in a locked car, the car can reach 81 degrees in just 10 minutes and 115 degrees in an hour.

As of July 1, “Forcible Entry of Motor Vehicle for Rescue Purposes” is now legal in Vermont. The law allows a person to break into a car for the purpose of rescuing a person or animal without fear of liability for damages.

“There are a few things people need to be aware of,” said Gretchen Goodman of the Rutland County Humane Society. “First, you really do have to be sure that the child or animal is in immediate danger.”

Then, you have to make sure the car is, in fact, locked. Once that has been determined, call the police before you forcibly break into the car and use no more force than necessary.  Once you have freed the pet or child, stay with the pet or child in a safe location until help arrives. Citizens need to leave a note on the vehicle.

The best tip is to leave your pet at home if you plan on going shopping during the warmer months.