Imagine you are walking through a parking lot on a sweltering summer day, but before you're able to step into the refreshing air conditioning awaiting you in the store, you hear the exasperated yelps of a dog coming from the van just up ahead.As you walk over, you see the panting face of a Bulldog
, her dry tongue furiously attempting to expel as much heat as her tired body will allow.
What do you do?Do you call the police? Do you try to flag down a security guard? A situation like this tends to require immediate action. Did you know that on an 85 degree day, it takes just 10 minutes for the interior of a car to reach 104 degrees
? Imagine what another 10 minutes could do…
Knowing that, you might want to reach for the nearest heavy implement and free that pooch yourself.
But won’t you get in trouble for smashing up someone’s van?Well, if you live in Tennessee, this is no longer a concern.New legislation
has been passed that decriminalized the defacement of a car so long as you are doing it to free a dog from the unbearable heat. The law is an add on to the existing Good Samaritan law, which previously only included the right to free a child from a hot car. Now it applies to dogs as well. Other states
have similar penalties for leaving your dog unattended in a car, but the legality of damaging someone else's property to free the dog is not as concrete.That said, the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car cannot be overstated. Dogs passing out - or dying - from heat exhaustion is a serious summertime threat in general, but leaving them to suffer the greenhouse effect of a sealed up car on a hot day is a surefire way to get there.Don’t think so? Watch as Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian, sits in his car for 30 minutes - with the windows cracked! It still
gets broiling hot in there.
So if you are in Nashville and happen upon a dog stuck in a hot car, smash away - just be careful not to get cut up!