VERIFY: Is it legal to free dog trapped in hot car?

We set out to answer the question if you can you legally break someone else's car window to free a trapped pet on a hot day here in Minnesota.

MINNEAPOLIS - As the temperatures heat up, a Facebook post about helping dogs that are trapped in hot cars may have caught your attention. It says in some cases you can legally break a window to free them.

So is this true?  KARE 11’s Zachery Lashway went to verify whether or not this is true. 

The 2016 Minnesota Statute talks about removing animals from vehicles and says: "A peace officer, a humane agent, a dog warden, or a volunteer or professional member of a fire or rescue department of a political subdivision may use reasonable force to enter a motor vehicle and remove a dog or cat which has been left in the vehicle in a manner that endangers the dog's or cat's health or safety."  But it does NOT say ANYONE can do it.

Both Saint Paul and Minneapolis police say the post circulating on Facebook is NOT true.

Sergeant Catherine Michal with Minneapolis police says, “What we want people to do is to call 911 and have the police come because you don't know – there are so many different circumstances… So you don't know if that person just got out of their car went inside somewhere.  Or maybe that dog always looks fatigued.  So we would rather that you call the police and allow us to come and assess the situation.”

Currently other states including California and Texas have considered changing laws to allow good Samaritans to act.  But if you’re in Minnesota, at this time you will need to call 911. 

SOURCES:

Sergeant Catherine Michal - Minneapolis Police Department

Steve Linders - St. Paul Police Department

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