It’s a hot, or even warm day, and you see a dog (or cat, for that matter) locked inside a parked car with the engine off. The driver is nowhere in sight. What do you do? I’ve seen some people ignore it and mind their own business. I’ve seen others try to free the animal. Some want to help but are fearful of being arrested. That won’t happen to you in Tennessee.
A law enacted a couple years ago extends a good Samaritan law that allows people to break into a hot car to free a child now includes animals in danger. People who notify law enforcement and attempt to find the owner will be protected from civil liability if they damage a car while trying to rescue an animal in danger. It can get deadly very quickly for animals inside a car, even if the windows are down. The inside of a car heats up quickly. People think the animal will be fine for “just a few minutes,” but on a pleasant 70-degree day, the inside of a car can heat up to 90 degrees in just two minutes. Within 20 minutes, the inside temperature can rise to 107 degrees. After an hour, it can hit 120 degrees.
Here are some facts about what happens to a dog in a hot car. We encourage you to print this flyer, duplicate it and keep in your car. If you see an animal in this situation but are unable to free them, at least call animal control or the local police department. Also report as much information about the car to the nearest place of business asking them to make an announcement then place the brochure on the windshield of the parked car containing the animal. We must be their voice!