Here’s When It’s Legal to Break Someone’s Car Window in Massachusetts
Massachusetts has recently undergone a hot spell. Take today for example (Jun. 2) Berkshire County will be seeing temperatures with a high between 86 and 88 degrees. In Boston, it's about the same. Over in Springfield, the high is going to be around 88, and Worcester will see the high top out at about 85. I bring this up because even though it will cool off a bit next week it's a reminder that summer is coming and to pay extra special attention to both your kids and pets when traveling.
It happens more than we'd care to admit. Somebody parks their car on a hot summer day, the person leaves their dog in the car with the intention of being away from the car for only a few minutes, the dog owner runs into a store to do an errand and then the person comes out to find that the dog is either dying or dead from heat exhaustion because the windows were rolled all the way up. It's a grim picture to paint but it happens.
Can I Legally Break Someone's Car Window In Massachusetts to Free a Dog From a Hot Car?
If you are a bystander and you see that the dog is in this situation, you can legally break the car window to get the dog out. Here's the actual Massachusetts law as posted on the Massachusetts Legislature's website (we've included a video as well)
After making reasonable efforts to locate a motor vehicle’s owner, a person other than an animal control officer, law enforcement officer or fire fighter shall not enter a motor vehicle to remove an animal to protect the health and safety of that animal in immediate danger unless the person: (i) notifies law enforcement or calls 911 before entering the vehicle; (ii) determines that the motor vehicle is locked or there is no other reasonable means for exit and uses not more force than reasonably necessary to enter the motor vehicle and remove the animal; (iii) has a good faith and reasonable belief, based upon known circumstances, that entry into the vehicle is reasonably necessary to prevent imminent danger or harm to the animal; and (iv) remains with the animal in a safe location in reasonable proximity to the vehicle until law enforcement or another first responder arrives.
As you can see, you must do your due diligence first but if that doesn't work out, you can break the window, get the dog out in a safe place and you won't be in trouble by the authorities. It's worth noting that children have died in similar situations as well. In 2020, 33 children died as a result of being trapped in a hot car, and so far in 2023, the number of deaths reported has been six. This is according to Injury Facts.
Summer is coming and it doesn't take long for your vehicle to heat up. Let's do a double take of the backseat and make sure both our kids and pets are not trapped in a hot car situation.
LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state
LOOK: Here Are 30 Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs
KEEP READING: Here are 6 foods from your cookout that could harm your dog