I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard the rumours that if you see a dog locked inside a car on a scorching day, such as today, then you can smash the windows to rescue it – but is there any truth to the rumour?
Not really no.
While a local authority inspector, or a Constable, have the right to invade somebody’s property to assist an animal that is likely to be suffering, a random member of the public would be placed under investigation for criminal damage, reports the Plymouth Herald.
Despite the fact that a dog can die within ten minutes if locked inside a car on a blistering hot day, police have advised people to merely dial 999, instead of resorting to smashing windows, if they do come across a trapped animal.
Keith Evans, from the British Institute of Professional Dog Training, said:
Any member of the public who breaks into a vehicle to assist a suffering dog would not be protected by the powers under the AWA 2006, and would no doubt be subject of an investigation for an offence of Criminal Damage.
However, the law is a little bit tricky here, because if it is ‘reasonable’ to assume the property owner would want you to break in, then that is okay – but, of course, it’s hard to predict whether someone would be happy or not for you to smash in their windows to save their dog.
The big word here is “reasonable”. If a person just breaks a window as there is a dog inside, and the dog is obviously fit and well, then their actions might well be deemed unreasonable, and they would have committed an offence.
I think the best call is to give 999 a quick ring, or even the police’s non-emergency number, 101.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.