Dogs love cheese. Now they’re going to love Cheeseheads, too. In Wisconsin, starting this summer, good Samaritans who see dogs and kids trapped in hot cars can bust them out, without facing civil liability.
This makes four states that now have so-called hot car laws all passed in the last two years. The others are Tennessee, Florida, and Ohio though the law doesn’t go into effect in Ohio until the end of August.
California, New York, and Massachusetts lawmakers are currently considering similar bills. Wisconsin’s law like those in the other states that allows concerned bystanders to take a hammer to a car window only under certain conditions: You’ve got to have a good faith belief that the pet or child is in danger. “Forcible entry” must be required in other words, make sure the car door isn’t unlocked. You must call 911 or let law enforcement know what you’re about to do.
And then you’ve either got to stick around until the owner or the cops arrive, or leave a note on the windshield about who you are and what you did.
This law was signed by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker last November. As Milwaukee public radio station WUWM noted in a recent story, this is the first summer that the law has been in effect.
“I wonder whether or not in the 25 cases where children died last year, or hundreds, if not thousands of cases where pets died last year, whether or not people saw it happening but they didn’t think that was their business or their call or didn’t want to get in trouble damaging the property,” one of the bill’s co-authors, Reps. Tod Ohnstad, told the station.
We’re going to go ahead and editorialize here: This law is really great. We’d like to see the other 46 states adopt their own versions of it. (Let your state lawmakers know if want to support this!
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