Texas Law Unclear on Window Breaking to Save a Dog in a Hot Car
I was in the parking lot of the mall one afternoon at lunch to pick up some makeup and I found myself trying to decide whether or not to break the window of a car that a medium sized Brittany Spaniel was locked up in. It was at least 98 degrees outside that day, I had parked farthest away from the mall entrance and the car that the dog was in was about midway to the entrance and I was already sweating by the time I was passing it so you can imagine how hot it must’ve been inside. I stopped for a moment when I saw a long pink tongue half way hanging out the top of the window. It was kinda cute until I realized the poor thing was panting like crazy. I was thinking to myself that I would need to explain myself to the authorities as to why I broke the window of this strangers car even though one of the windows was cracked at the top…barley cracked but still cracked. I thought breaking the window that was cracked a little would be easier since it might mean it would have a little more give than the others. I didn’t have anything to break the window with and realizing I wasn’t the best person to make this decision when I saw the parking lot security guard stopped by the mall entrance I started heading toward him to see if he could help. I kept looking back to make sure the dog was still standing up and not passed out,. I passed a lady who seemed to be heading toward the car so I turned around and watched her all the way to her door, yep, that was her car and that was her dog cooking inside that crazy hot car. When she saw that I was watching her I got the feeling she knew exactly why I was watching her and she jumped in and sped off. Good thing too, I was going to report her animal cruelty ass to that security guard.
My personal opinion on the subject of animals being left in cars is as follows;
If you are so close to your animal that you want it to go everywhere with you then you should care about them enough to not go places that you couldn’t take them inside with you. I’ve seen guys who work in the oil field whose jobs are basically driving around checking gauges that bring their dog with them for company but these guys rarely turn their vehicle off, meaning the AC is on when they get out and normally Fido gets out with them. I don’t think it’s ok to leave an animal in a hot car EVEN if you leave the windows rolled down. Would you leave your child in a car when it’s 100 degrees outside in the full sun with two windows rolled down a few inches while you run errands at the mall? I’m going to guess no.
So I tried to find some info on the law regarding breaking windows to save animals left in hot cars and here is what I found.
According to the website on city ordinances here for Midland County, Midland, Texas-Code of Ordinances/TITLE VI-POLICE REGULATIONS/CHAPTER 2-ANIMALS AND FOWL/SEC 6-1-20.- Safety of animals in motor vehicles.
(A) Beginning on the first day of April and through the first day of October of each year, no person shall leave any animal enclosed within any unoccupied vehicle without at least two of the windows on said vehicle being rolled down at least four inches. The Director of Animal Services or his designee, or any police officer, is authorized to use reasonable force, including the breaking of a window or lock, to remove an animal which is enclosed within any vehicle whenever there is a violation of this Section. Said animal shall be impounded by the City of Midland's Animal Services Division.
(B) If professional services are required to remove the animal, the owner of the vehicle, or owner of the animal, shall be responsible for any cost or fees related to the removal of the animal from the vehicle.
(C) It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that any window not rolled down at least four inches was rolled down as far as mechanically possible.
(D) It shall be an affirmative defense to prosecution under this Section that it was raining at the time of the violation of this Section.
(Ord. No. 8688, § 1, 11-25-2008)
Does this mean if we see an animal dying in a hot car that we aren’t allowed to break the window to save it? I don’t know, what do you think?