It is now legal in Louisiana to rescue a pet or a minor from a locked, parked vehicle, by smashing a window to get in. The new law went into effect yesterday, and provides criminal and civil protection for good Samaritans who take action against the illegal activity. Louisiana SPCA spokesperson Alicia Haefele says there’s two things you need to do before breaking that window.
“Call out for the owner, if they don’t respond, you call 911 before you do anything else. Authorities will send someone out to you, and then you can gain access to that vehicle.
However, there are some restrictions you need to keep in mind before you bail a baby out of a bad situation. First, Hafele says you need to display some restraint when damaging the vehicle.
“Use reasonable force, so don’t smash in all four windows to get eth animal out, try all of the door handles to make sure the car is not unlocked.”
And second, you can’t hurt the dog or minor when trying to save them. That means shooing interested dogs away from the glass before breaking, and making sure you don’t smash a window where the shards could hit a small child. Hafele says, be smart about it.
“If an animal is sitting on one side of the car, then don’t break that window to get in because the animal could get cut by the glass. So the vehicle owner could still press charges for injury.”
The law does not state that it has to be a hot or cold day to take action.