Is it legal to smash a car window if a hot dog is trapped inside?

PUBLISHED: 08:23 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:34 24 July 2018

Dogs are in danger of suffering heatstroke when left in hot cars. PHOTO: Archant

Dogs are in danger of suffering heatstroke when left in hot cars. PHOTO: Archant


Here’s the advice on what you should you do if you see a dog locked inside a car suffering from the heat.

Summer can be a dangerous time of year for dogs if proper precautions aren’t taken.

Because they struggle to regulate their body temperatures, dogs are at risk of succumbing to heatstroke in hot weather.

If you see a dog in a car displaying symptoms of heatstroke (heavy panting, excessive drooling, lethargy, collapsing or vomiting), the RSPCA advice is to dial 999 immediately.

This is because dogs suffering from heatstroke can become unconscious and even experience organ failure.

If the dog seems to be critically suffering and the police can’t attend you may feel breaking the car window is your only option.

The law states, however, that without proper justification this could be classed as criminal damage.

You must therefore have a lawful excuse to avoid possible legal consequences.

The RSPCA advise the public to take the following precautions in cases where breaking into the car seems absolutely necessary:

“Make sure you tell the police what you intend to do and why.

“Take pictures or videos of the dog and the names and numbers of witnesses to the incident.”

The RSPCA website also points out that:

“The law states that you have a lawful excuse to commit damage if you believe that the owner of the property that you damage would consent to the damage if they knew the circumstances (section 5(2)(a) Criminal Damage Act 1971)”.

You can find more information about how you can help dogs in hot cars on the RSPCA website.

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